Article |

Boys' Behavioral Inhibition and the Risk of Later Delinquency

Margaret Kerr, PhD; Richard E. Tremblay, PhD; Linda Pagani, PhD; Frank Vitaro, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(9):809-816. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830210049005.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Background:  In some studies, shyness and anxiety have protected at-risk boys from developing delinquency. In others, shyness and withdrawal have increased risk. We argue that this is because behavioral inhibition, which is the protective factor, has been confounded with social withdrawal and other constructs. Our study addresses 3 major questions: (1) is behavioral inhibition, as distinguished from social withdrawal, a protective factor in the development of delinquency; (2) does the protective effect depend on whether disruptiveness is also present; and (3) does inhibition increase the risk of later depressive symptoms even if it protects against delinquency?

Methods:  The subjects were boys from low socioeconomic status areas of Montreal, Quebec. Age 10- to 12-year predictors were peer-rated inhibition, withdrawal, and disruptiveness; age 13- to 15-year outcomes were selfrated depressive symptoms and delinquency. Eight age 10- to 12-year behavioral profiles were compared with 4 age 13- to 15-year outcome profiles.

Results:  Inhibition seemed to protect disruptive and nondisruptive boys against delinquency. Disruptive boys who were noninhibited were more likely than chance to become delinquent; disruptive boys who were inhibited were not. Inhibition did not increase the risk for depression among disruptive boys. Among nondisruptive boys, only nondisruptive-inhibited boys were significantly less likely than chance to become delinquent. However, withdrawal was not protective. Disruptive-withdrawn boys were at the greatest risk for delinquency or delinquency with depressive symptoms.

Conclusion:  Inhibition and social withdrawal, although behaviorally similar, present different risks for later outcomes and, therefore, should be differentiated conceptually and empirically.


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours





Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.