Fearfulness in childhood a predictor of later anxiety during Covid

19 March 2021

Research has identified early risk factors for developing anxiety during stressful life events in early adulthood. 

The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that continued behavioural inhibition throughout childhood predicted greater worry dysregulation in adolescence. This in turn predicted heightened anxiety in young adults during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The researchers assessed data from 291 participants who were followed from ‘toddlerhood’ through to young adulthood. Co-author Daniel Pine said: ‘This study shows that children’s level of fearfulness predicts how much stress they experience later in life when they confront difficult circumstances, such as the pandemic.’

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