Behavioral inhibition in young children is a temperament characterized by heightened sensitivity to novelty, social withdrawal, and anxious behaviors. Persistent elevated behavioral inhibition from infancy to early childhood is a risk for adult anxiety disorder and is further moderated by less adolescent social involvement. Low family income and neighborhood poverty were related to poorer behavioral response inhibition performance. However, little is known on the impact of the parental perception neighborhood safety on behavioral inhibition behaviors within emerging adolescents. Thus, the present study aims to determine the association between parental perception of neighborhood safety on behavioral inhibition behaviors among emerging adolescents.
As part of the national multi-site Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study, 10,835 participants (aged 9-10) and accompanying caregivers participated in baseline visits. Information was collected from caregivers on demographic information and the Neighborhood Safety/Crime Survey reporting perceptions of safety in their neighborhood. The youth filled out the Modified Behavioral Inhibition/Behavioral Approach System (BIS/BAS) Scales. A General Additive Mixed Model analyses were used to examine the interactive effects of parental perception of neighborhood safety and on behavioral inhibition while controlling for other demographic variables.
Results demonstrated that parental perception of neighborhood safety did not have a significant effect on youth’s reported behavioral inhibition scores. However, results demonstrated that males reported significantly lower behavioral inhibition scores compared to females.
Our results suggest that during pre-adolescence, parental perception of neighborhood safety does not have an effect on the behavioral inhibition scores. Based on our results that males reported less behavioral inhibition behaviors; further examination on other variables that could potentially influence the relationship of gender and neighborhood safety could provide insight on protective barriers of perceived neighborhood safety in emerging adolescent that could aid in mitigating the effects of heightened behavioral inhibition.