Childhood Temperament Can Identify Future Risks of Anxiety and Depression: Study

Angry offended little girl ignoring not listening mother words, advice, mum hugging, talking with stubborn, upset daughter at living room, bad upbringing, difficult behavior of childAccording to recent research, childhood temperament and a neural process may predict the risk of developing anxiety and depression later in life. This new information from The University of Texas at Dallas could help shape how mental health is handled in adolescence and early adulthood.

The study analyzed information from 165 individuals from 4 months old through the age of 26. The subjects were followed for decades because full symptoms don’t usually emerge until young adulthood.


The participants were categorized as either inhibited or uninhibited as young children. As adolescents, they had functional MRIs while completing tasks to measure the brain’s reaction in anticipation of a reward or trying to win money.

“We looked at the ventral striatum, a brain region well studied in terms of understanding depression in adults, to see if it’s tied to maladaptive processing in the reward centers of the brain,” said lead scientist Dr. Alva Tang.

It was found that the association between inhibition at 14 to 24 months of age and depression symptoms in those from ages 15 to 26 was present only in those participants who showed blunted activity in the ventral striatum as adolescents. There was no association found with anxiety.

“We found that behavioral inhibition was related to worsening depressive symptoms into adulthood. This supports the assertion that this temperament shows a stronger relation to developing anxiety in adolescence, but in adulthood, it is tied more strongly to depression.” Tang said.

Tang’s previous work has related anxiety to neural networks and processes that affect attention and executive functions. However, this new research highlights the rewards and motivational centers in the brain and relates them to depression.

Supporting Mental Health

Many studies have tied mental health issues to various conditions. However, there have also been an overwhelming amount of studies that show how lifestyle changes can help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. For example, diet and exercise can play an important role in reducing symptoms. Getting the proper vitamins and nutrients is also vital for mental health.


There are numerous factors that can take a toll on the ability of the brain to function at peak potential. This can affect memory, concentration, and overall brain function.

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Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.