Behavioral Inhibition (BI: Kagan et al., 1987) is an early temperamental trait, characterized by fear, reticence, disorganization when confronting with new or unfamiliar stimuli, and detectable in 10-15% of Caucasian population. It has been recognized as a risk factor for child mental health from middle childhood to adulthood. Although the considerable interest for BI in the international literature, a very few studies have examined this construct on Italian population. This review aimed to report the main contributions to the literature about Behavioral Inhibition, with a specific focus on its characteristics, precursors, and implications for the child socio-emotional functioning. Besides, the role of specific endogenous and exogenous factors in the onset of child’s impaired outcomes was shown. The body of evidences presented in this review highlighted the relevance of an early identification of the BI trait and its associated factors in order to promote the child’s social and emotional wellbeing.
Keywords: Behavioral Inhibition, temperament, childhood, early predispositions, child mental health.