British Journal of Clinical Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 41 Issue 4 (November 2002), Pages 331-431

Behavioural inhibition and symptoms of anxiety and depression: Is there a specific relationship with social phobia? (pages 361-374)

Objectives: The aim of the study was to examine the relationships between tendencies towards different mental health problems assessed via questionnaires (social phobia, agoraphobia, general anxiety/panic, depression), the two latent dimensions of behavioural inhibition (childhood social/school fears, non‐social fears/ illness), and sensory‐processing sensitivity.

Design: A cross‐sectional design was employed.

Method: Volunteer participants (N = 234) from anxiety and depression self‐help organizations completed five mailed questionnaires. These were the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory II and Beck Anxiety Inventory; the Highly Sensitive Person Scale, a measure of trait sensitivity to environmental stimuli; and the Retrospective Self‐Report of Inhibition.

Results: Higher levels of anxiety, but not depression, were associated with increased self‐reported sensitivity to environmental stimuli. Recalled childhood social/school fears were related to elevated scores on measures of social phobia and depression, while recalled non‐social fears/illness were not associated with any index of psychopathology.

Conclusion: These results extend those of previous research by suggesting specific patterns of relationships of both sensitivity to environmental stimuli and behavioural inhibition with symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is suggested that in investigating long‐term outcome, prospective behavioural inhibition studies would benefit from examining the temporal corollaries of the underlying social and non‐social dimensions. Sample and design limitations are discussed.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>