The Role of Effortful Control in Moderating the Relationship Between Temperamental Shyness, Fearfulness, and Internalizing Behaviors

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Internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety and depression, have frequently been associated with temperament characteristics, specifically Behavioral Inhibition (BI) traits, such as Shyness and Fearfulness. While Effortful Control (EC) has been posited as a potential moderator in the relationship between heightened negative emotionality and Internalizing problems, empirical evidence precisely about BI remains inconclusive. This cross-sectional study investigated the role of Effortful Control and its sub-constructs (Attentional Focusing, Inhibitory Control, Low-intensity Pleasure, and Perceptual Sensitivity) in moderating the relation between Behavioral Inhibition (fear and shyness) and internalizing behaviors in a sample of 130 kindergarteners. The findings indicated that Behavioral Inhibition was significantly correlated with and predicted internalizing behaviors. However, no significant correlations were found between Effortful Control, its sub-constructs, and internalizing behaviors in this sample. Additionally, Effortful Control and its sub-constructs did not moderate the relationship between Behavioral Inhibition and internalizing behaviors.