Beliefs of parents, teachers, and children about shy-inhibited behaviors during the preschool years:  Implications for intervention.

Within a developmental-transactional framework (Rubin et al., 2009), shy-inhibited behaviors during the preschool years can be understood as a risk factor for the development of later social anxiety and peer difficulties. However, not all inhibited-shy preschoolers experience adverse developmental pathways (Chronis-Tuscano et al., 2009). Identifying the modifiable factors that can explain differential risk and resilience among shy-inhibited preschoolers is crucial for the development of early intervention programs (Danko et al., 2018). The parental information processing model establishes that parental beliefs may be associated with children’s shy-inhibited behaviors, both directly and indirectly via parenting practices (Rubin et al., 2002). Furthermore, the developmental bioecological framework acknowledges that preschool is a core developmental context (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006). Teachers have been found to anticipate negative outcomes for inhibited-shy preschoolers, but to be less prone to worry and intervene with them than with aggressive children (Archbell et al., 2019). This type of beliefs can negatively impact teacher-child relationships (Sette et al., 2014), peers’ attitudes and responses, placing inhibited-shy preschoolers at increased risk of maladaptive developmental pathways (Kalutskaya et al., 2015). This symposium aims to deepen the understanding about the beliefs of key socialization agents toward shy-inhibited behaviors.

The first communication will explore mother-reported parenting practices and child social behaviors, depending on maternal beliefs’ profiles toward shy-inhibited behaviors.

The second communication will focus on the beliefs of preschool teachers toward shy-inhibited behaviors, depending on sociodemographic correlates.

The third communication will examine preschoolers’ attitudes toward shy-inhibited behaviors, considering child age and sex. The last communication will discuss the implications of the findings for developmental science and evidence-based practice will be discussed.


University of Coimbra. Portugal

Maryse Guedes holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Coimbra, Portugal. She is currently a Junior Researcher in the William James Center for Research, ISPA – Instituto Universitário. She is the principal investigator of a nationally funded research project aimed at developing a new universal intervention program for teachers with targeted elements for behavioral inhibition during the preschool years. From 2017 to 2022, she was involved in the adaptation and evaluation of the effectiveness of a new multi-modal intervention program (Turtle Program) targeted at inhibited preschoolers and their parents. In connection with the University of Maryland (USA), she designed the intervention manuals for Portuguese therapists and parents for the implementation of the Turtle Program, in-person and online.