Childhood fears, neurobehavioral functioning and behavior problems in school-age children

Jonathan Kushnir, Avi Sadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective is to examine underlying associations between childhood fears, behavior problems and neurobehavioral functioning (NBF) in school-age children. Healthy, regular school children (N = 135), from second, fourth and sixth grade classes were assessed. Data regarding children's fears and behavioral problems were obtained with the Revised Fear Survey Schedule for Children, the Child Behavior Checklist, and NBF was assessed using a computerized neurobehavioral evaluation system. Significant correlations between childhood fears and NBF measures and somatic complaints were found. Children who reported higher levels of fears demonstrated lower working memory span (r = 0.24, p<0.05), lower motor speed (r = -0.23, p<0.05), and had more somatic complaints (r = 0.20, p<0.05). Furthermore, younger children reported less fears than older ones and girls reported more fears than boys. These results highlight significant association between childhood fears, NBF and behavior problems in a non-clinical group children. Lower working memory span is an important component of executive control that may be an underlying factor in fears and anxiety in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Behavior problems
  • Children
  • Fears
  • Memory
  • Motor
  • Neurobehavioral


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