A new study published in Infant and Child Development indicates that complications during birth may increase the risk that children will develop social anxiety by their pre-teen years.
For the study, 149 children aged nine to 12 years were screened for behavioral inhibition--a tendency to exhibit a fearful disposition and withdrawal in unfamiliar contexts and situations--and assessed for social anxiety symptoms using parent- and child-reports. Investigators found that perinatal complications were associated with higher levels of behavioral inhibition and social anxiety symptoms.
Additionally, analyses suggested that behavioral inhibition acted as a pathway between birth complications and social anxiety symptoms.
"This study sets the stage for future longitudinal work examining whether childhood temperament is a developmental path by which birth complications lead to social anxiety symptoms," said lead author Dr. Santiago Morales, of the University of Maryland.