While a shy child waits: Autonomic and affective responses during the anticipation and delivery of a speech.
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Shyness is a temperament characterized by wariness to social novelty and perceived social evaluation. However, we know relatively little about temperamentally shy children's psychophysiological and affective responses during different phases of social stressors. We examined whether children's temperamental shyness was related to distinct patterns of autonomic and affective responses across three conditions: baseline, speech anticipation, and speech delivery. Participants included 152 children (Mage = 7.82 years, SD = 0.44) who had their autonomic nervous system activity [respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and heart rate (HR)] and subjective nervousness assessed across each experimental condition. Children's temperamental shyness was assessed according to parent- and child-report. Using a latent difference score framework to model dynamic changes across task phases, we found that higher levels of parent-reported shyness was related to decreases in RSA from baseline to speech anticipation followed by increases in RSA from speech anticipation to delivery. Further, higher levels of parent-reported shyness were related to increases in HR from baseline to speech anticipation, and higher levels of child-reported shyness was related to increases in subjective nervousness from baseline to speech anticipation. These findings illustrate that children with higher levels of temperamental shyness may experience autonomic and emotion dysregulation particularly during the anticipation of social stressors, which may reflect their tendency to react to perceived impending social threat on both physiological and affective levels. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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