Shyness and children's emotionality, regulation, and coping: Contemporaneous, longitudinal, and across-context relations

Nancy Eisenberg, Stephanie A. Shepard, Richard Fabes, Bridget C. Murphy, Ivanna K. Guthrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relations of teachers' and parents' reports of children's shyness (i.e., social inhibition) at ages 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 years to dispositional regulation, emotionality, and coping were examined. Shyness was positively related to internalizing negative emotion, coping by doing nothing, and, for parent-rated shyness, behavioral inhibition/nonimpulsivity, attention focusing, and avoidant coping; it was negatively related to positive emotionality, instrumental coping, seeking support from teachers (at younger ages), and for teacher-rated shyness, attentional control. Often prediction held over several years and/or across reporters. Parent-reported internalizing negative emotion at age 4-6 predicted shyness at ages 6-8 and 8-10, but primarily for children low in attention shifting. Teacher-rated shyness was related to low social status; parent-rated shyness correlated with boys' adult-rated social status at age 4-6 and with style of social interaction, particularly for girls. The relation between parent- and teacher-reported shyness decreased with age. The overall pattern of findings was partially consistent with the conclusion that parent-rated shyness reflected primarily social wariness with unfamiliar people (i.e., temperamental shyness), whereas teacher-rated shyness tapped social inhibition due to social evaluative concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-790
Number of pages24
JournalChild development
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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