Infant stranger fear trajectories predict anxious behaviors and diurnal cortisol rhythm during childhood

Carol A. Van Hulle, Mollie N. Moore, Kathryn Lemery, H. Hill Goldsmith, Rebecca J. Brooker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although a robust literature has linked stable, high levels of fear across childhood to increased risk for anxiety problems, less is known about alternative pathways to anxiety. We tested two putatively normative developmental pathways of early fearfulness for their distinct associations with behavioral (anxiety-related behaviors and symptoms) and biological (diurnal cortisol) markers of anxiety risk in middle childhood in a community-based sample (n = 107). Steeper increases in fear from 6 to 36 months predicted more parent-reported anxiety symptoms at age 8 years. In addition, children who exhibited steep increases in fear during infancy were overrepresented among children with diagnoses of separation anxiety disorder at age 8 years. Finally, we showed that steeper increases in fearfulness in infancy predicted flatter slopes of diurnal cortisol at age 8 years for girls. Thus, differences in stranger fear across infancy may indicate varying degrees of risk for anxious behaviors in later childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1130
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Infant stranger fear trajectories predict anxious behaviors and diurnal cortisol rhythm during childhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this