The relation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia to later shyness: Moderation by neighborhood quality

Hui Zhang, Tracy Spinrad, Nancy Eisenberg, Linlin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to predict young children's shyness from both internal/biological (i.e., resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia; RSA) and external (i.e., neighborhood quality) factors. Participants were 180 children at 42 (Time 1; T1), 72 (T2), and 84 (T3) months of age. RSA data were obtained at T1 during a neutral film in the laboratory. Mothers reported perceived neighborhood quality at T2 and children's dispositional shyness at T1 and T3. Path analyses indicated that resting RSA interacted with neighborhood quality to predict T3 shyness, even after controlling for earlier family income and T1 shyness. Specifically, high levels of resting RSA predicted low levels of shyness in the context of high neighborhood quality. When neighborhood quality was low, resting RSA was positively related to later shyness. These findings indicate that children's shyness is predicted by more than biological processes and that consideration of the broader context is critical to understanding children's social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-738
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • neighborhood quality
  • respiratory sinus arrhythmia
  • shyness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The relation of respiratory sinus arrhythmia to later shyness: Moderation by neighborhood quality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this