Purpose This two-part (i.e., Study 1, Study 2) study investigated behavioral inhibition (BI) in preschool-age children who do (CWS) and do not (CWNS) stutter. The purpose of Study 1 was to develop the Short Behavioral Inhibition Scale (SBIS), a parent-report scale of BI. The purpose of Study 2 was to determine, based on the SBIS, differences in BI between CWS and CWNS, and associations between BI and CWS’s stuttering frequency, stuttering severity, speech-associated attitudes, and stuttering-related consequences/reactions. Method Participants in Study 1 were 225 CWS and 243 CWNS with the majority of them being included in Study 2. In Study 2, a speech sample was obtained for the calculation of stuttering frequency and severity, and the parents of a subset of CWS completed the Communication Attitude Test for Preschool and Kindergarten Children Who Stutter (Vanryckeghem & Brutten, 2007), and the Test of Childhood Stuttering Disfluency-Related Consequences Rating Scale (Gillam, Logan, & Pearson, 2009). Results Study 1 analyses indicated that SBIS is a valid and reliable tool whose items assess a single, relatively homogeneous construct. In Study 2, CWS exhibited greater mean and extreme BI tendencies than CWNS. Also CWS with higher, compared to CWS with lower, BI presented with greater stuttering frequency, more severe stuttering, greater stuttering-related consequences, and more negative communication attitudes (for CWS older than 4 years of age). Conclusion Findings were taken to suggest that BI is associated with early childhood stuttering and that the SBIS could be included as part of a comprehensive evaluation of stuttering.
From early infancy through adulthood, individuals show remarkable variability in the way they react to, interact with, and operate within their environment. Such differences in the intensity and frequency of reactions to stimuli, together with attempts to regulate them are associated in part with individuals’ temperament. Although, as suggested by Rothbart (2011), temperament is biologically or constitutionally based, its phenotype is influenced or molded by the complex and continued interplay between genetic and environmental factors (Buss & Plomin, 1984). One temperamental construct that has received considerable attention since its introduction by Kagan and his colleagues (Garcia Coll, Kagan, & Reznick, 1984; Kagan, Reznick, Clarke, Snidman, & Garcia Coll, 1984; Kagan, Snidman, & Arcus, 1998) is behavioral inhibition (BI). As described by Rubin, Hastings, Stewart, Henderson, and Chen (1997), BI refers to the tendency to process and react to unfamiliar/novel stimuli (people, objects, social situations) with behavioral signs of cautiousness, fear, restraint, wariness, and withdrawal. Children with strong BI tendencies are typically hypervigilant in novel or uncertain situations, highly alerted to novel stimuli, more likely to present patterns of negative affectivity and often described as shy, quiet, and reticent (Lonigan, Vasey, Phillips, & Hazen, 2004).