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The Genetic and Environmental Relationship Between Childhood Behavioral Inhibition and Preadolescent Anxiety

  • Jessica L. Bourdon (a1), Jeanne E. Savage (a1) (a2), Brad Verhulst (a1) (a3), Dever M. Carney (a1), Melissa A. Brotman (a4), Daniel S. Pine (a4), Ellen Leibenluft (a4), Roxann Roberson-Nay (a1) (a5) and John M. Hettema (a1) (a5)...


This study uses novel approaches to examine genetic and environmental influences shared between childhood behavioral inhibition (BI) and symptoms of preadolescent anxiety disorders. Three hundred and fifty-two twin pairs aged 9–13 and their mothers completed questionnaires about BI and anxiety symptoms. Biometrical twin modeling, including a direction-of-causation design, investigated genetic and environmental risk factors shared between BI and social, generalized, panic and separation anxiety. Social anxiety shared the greatest proportion of genetic (20%) and environmental (16%) variance with BI with tentative evidence for causality. Etiological factors underlying BI explained little of the risk associated with the other anxiety domains. Findings further clarify etiologic pathways between BI and anxiety disorder domains in children.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Jessica L. Bourdon, Email:


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