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At first blush: the impact of shyness on early adolescents' social worlds
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3504-9037
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Shyness as a behavioral characteristic has been in focus of research in psychology for a number of decades. Adolescent shyness has, however, been relatively overlooked compared with studies conducted on children and adults. This dissertation concentrated on adolescent shyness, aiming to attain a better comprehension about how shyness during this developmental phase might affect, and be affected by social relationships. The first aim of this dissertation was to study in which way shyness influences and is influenced by significant people in adolescents’ lives: peers, friends, and parents. Study III showed that shy youths socialized each other over time into becoming even more shy. Study VI demonstrated that youths’ shyness affected parenting behaviors, more so than parent’s behaviors affected youth shyness. The second aim of this dissertation was to investigate what shyness means for adolescents’ choices of relationships with friends, whereas the third aim focused on whether adolescents’ ways of dealing with peers would have consequences for their internal and external adjustment. As Study I showed, youths might take on off-putting, startling appearances in order to cope with their shyness. This strategy seemed, nonetheless, not particularly successful for the shy youths in terms of emotional adjustment. Study III showed that adolescents who were shy tended to choose others similar to themselves in shyness as friends. Study II showed that shyness might indeed have some positive implications for adolescent development, as it was found to serve a protective role in the link between advanced maturity and various types of problem behaviors. Overall, the findings point to some gender differences regarding all of the abovementioned processes. In sum then, the studies in this dissertation show that even though youths’ shy, socially fearful characteristics affect their emotional adjustment and those around them, shy youths are part of a larger social arena where they are active agents in shaping their own development. Although adolescent shyness might be linked with several negative outcomes, however, it might be other people’s reactions to socially fearful behaviors that help create and/or maintain these outcomes over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2009. , 86 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 16
Keyword [en]
shyness, adolescence, social relationships, friends, peers, parents, social identity, socialization, problem behaviors
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6590ISBN: 978-91-7668-667-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-6590DiVA: diva2:214332
Public defence
2009-05-29, Hörsal L2, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-05-05 Created: 2009-05-05 Last updated: 2017-02-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Punks, Goths, and Other Eye-Catching Peer Crowds: Do They Fulfill a Function for Shy Youths?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Punks, Goths, and Other Eye-Catching Peer Crowds: Do They Fulfill a Function for Shy Youths?
2009 (English)In: Journal of research on adolescence, ISSN 1050-8392, E-ISSN 1532-7795, Vol. 19, no 1, 113-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Adolescent peer crowds such as Punks and Goths are mainly identified by their strikingly unusual or even shocking appearances. Although many studies find these crowds, few have tried to explain why some youths take on these startling or shocking appearances. We hypothesized that an off-putting appearance is a way to cope with behavioral inhibition by limiting social contacts. Using data from 1,200 7th - 11th graders, we compared peer crowds characterized by their startling appearance (“Radical” crowds) with three theoretically relevant comparison groups. Results showed that youths affiliating with Radical crowds were more inhibited than other youths, including those in crowds previously shown to be shy or socially anxious. Inhibited Radicals, however, had poorer emotional adjustment than inhibited youths in other crowds. If Radical styles are a way for inhibited youths to cope by limiting social contacts, the strategy does not seem to be beneficial for emotional adjustment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hillsdale, N.J.: Blackwell Publishing, 2009
Keyword
Behavioral inhibition, Appearance, Peer crowds, Depression, Adolescence
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6573 (URN)10.1111/j.1532-7795.2009.00584.x (DOI)000263521200007 ()2-s2.0-60649098579 (Scopus ID)
Note

Part of thesis: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6590

Available from: 2009-05-04 Created: 2009-05-04 Last updated: 2017-03-15Bibliographically approved
2. Shyness as protective factor in the link between advanced maturity and early adolescent problem behavior
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shyness as protective factor in the link between advanced maturity and early adolescent problem behavior
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Advanced maturity in early adolescence has previously been linked with several problem behaviors. In this study, we examine whether shyness and gender might moderate this link. The participants were 787 early adolescents (Mage = 13.73; 401 girls and 386 boys), followed for one year. We conducted moderation analyses with shyness and gender as moderators of the links between advanced maturity and problem behaviors (drunkenness and intercourse) and between one problem behavior and another. Protective effects of shyness were found for both boys and girls. For high-risk behaviors (risky drinking behaviors and one-night stands) protective effects were found for boys. Controlling for romantic involvement did not alter the moderation effects, thus failing to support the idea that protection was due to shy youths not being drawn into advanced peer groups by romantic partners. Thus, shyness might serve as protective factor against problem behaviors in early adolescence.

Keyword
shyness, drunkenness, intercourse, high-risk behaviors, early adolescence
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6574 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-05 Created: 2009-05-04 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Shyness as basis for friendship selection and socialization in a youth social network
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shyness as basis for friendship selection and socialization in a youth social network
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Shy children and adolescents have previously been found to have friends with similarly shy, withdrawn behavioral characteristics. How peers might socialize shyness over time has, however, not been thoroughly investigated before. Our network included 834 youths (339 girls, and 495 boys; M = 14.29), followed for three years. We used the social network analysis software, SIENA, to analyze the data. The results show that those youths who are shy are less popular and choose fewer friends in the network. They also tend to choose friends who are shy, and over time they will influence each other into becoming more shy – over and above other effects. Finally, girls’ shyness is more influenced than boys’ by their friends’ shyness levels. These results show the significance of looking at shy youths’ friendships over time, and embedded in social networks.

 

Keyword
shyness, friendships, selection, influence, socialization, social networks
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6575 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-05 Created: 2009-05-04 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Shy adolescents' perceptions of parental overcontrol and emotional coldness: examining bidirectional links
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shy adolescents' perceptions of parental overcontrol and emotional coldness: examining bidirectional links
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Two kinds of parental behaviors—overcontrol and emotional coldness—have been linked with children’s shy behaviors. The questions we addressed are whether this applies to adolescent shyness, and whether shyness in itself might also affect parental behaviors. The participants were 916 7th-9th graders in a longitudinal project. We used a cross-lagged path model with three time points. Shyness predicted an increase in feeling overly controlled by parents at Time 2, which then predicted an increase in shyness at Time 3. Shyness also predicted an increase in perceived coldness-rejection by parents at Time 2. Finally, shyness predicted decreases in parental warmth at both timepoints. The effects did not differ for boys and girls. These results show that adolescent shyness predicts parental behaviors, though perhaps less strongly than in childhood. They also suggest some bidirectional effects in which parental responses to shy youths might serve to strengthen the shyness.

 

Keyword
shyness, parental behaviors, bidirectionality, adolescence
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-6576 (URN)
Available from: 2009-05-05 Created: 2009-05-04 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved

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