The Consistency and Concomitants of Inhibition: Some of the Children, All of the Time

Kenneth H. Rubin, Paul D. Hastings, Shannon L. Stewart, Heather A. Henderson, Xinyin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


Toddlers displaying extremely inhibited behavior may be at risk for becoming socially withdrawn. However, behavioral inhibition may be a multifaceted characteristic, and its concurrent relation to toddler wariness with peers has not been examined. In this study, 108 toddlers (54 females) and their mothers were observed in novel situations involving unfamiliar settings, adults, and peers. Vagal tone, temperament, separation-reunion behavior, and maternal oversolicitousness also were assessed. There was little consistency of inhibited behavior across the 3 situations. Consistently inhibited toddlers had fearful temperaments, showed distress following maternal separation, and had mothers who were warm and controlling but unresponsive to children's cues during interaction. Toddlers with highly fearful temperaments and highly oversolicitous mothers were the most inhibited across contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-483
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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