Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Psychology; Developmental psychology


Prior research has demonstrated that the early childhood developmental period is an important time period to study the emergence and development of temperament characteristics, including behavioral inhibition and inhibitory control, as well as factors that influence such characteristics. In particular, previous research has suggested that behavioral inhibition may facilitate the development of inhibitory control due to behavioral inhibition emerging earlier than inhibitory control and sharing behavioral features (i.e., inhibition). Although previous studies have examined relations between behavioral inhibition and inhibitory control, limited research has examined such relations during the emergence of inhibitory control or by utilizing multiple methodologies (i.e., observation and report). Additionally, a significant amount of research has observed that both behavioral inhibition and inhibitory control appear to demonstrate a similar pattern of relations with subsequent psychopathology. Specifically, both behavioral inhibition and inhibitory control often demonstrate positive relations with subsequent internalizing problems and inverse relations with subsequent externalizing problems. As such, the current study sought to address limitations in the prior literature by utilizing a cross-lagged panel design to examine relations between behavioral inhibition, inhibitory control, and subsequent psychopathology. One-hundred and seventy mothers participated in a longitudinal study spanning multiple time points during early childhood. The current study focused on the development of behavioral inhibition, inhibitory control, and psychopathology between 18 months and 30 months of age. Structural equation modeling analyses partially supported hypotheses that behavioral inhibition and inhibitory control would demonstrate stability between 18 and 24 months. Findings potentially suggested that facets of behavioral inhibition may be distinct based on negative reactivity to social or nonsocial stimuli during this period. Additionally, evidence of heterotypic continuity of inhibitory control appeared to occur. No evidence that behavioral inhibition facilitated the development of inhibitory control was observed. Finally, findings potentially identified behavioral inhibition as a specific risk factor for the development of internalizing problems and inhibitory control as a specific protective factor for the development of externalizing problems. The present findings should be considered cautiously due to mixed evidence of adequate fit indices across multiple structural models. As such future research would benefit from examining whether such findings are replicable during the 18 month and 30 month time window. Limitations and implications are further discussed.


Advisors: David J. Bridgett.||Committee members: Julie Crouch; Julia Ogg; Laura Pittman; Elizabeth Shelleby; Karen White.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


127 pages




Northern Illinois University

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