Shyness, Unsociability, and Social Avoidance During Early Adolescence: Associations With Peer Relationships and Aggression

Natalie D. Eggum, Linlin Zhang, Danming An, Jingyi Xu, Brandon N. Clifford, Megan Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We investigated how 5th–8th graders’ self- and peer-identified withdrawal motivations predicted peer-reported peer relationships and aggression. Participants (N = 221; 47% male) provided self-reports and peer-nomination data (we analyzed 339 students’ nominations). We hypothesized shyness, unsociability, and avoidance would predict low peer liking and high exclusion; shyness and avoidance would predict high victimization and peer disliking; and avoidance would predict high aggression. Support was mixed. Results varied by withdrawal motivation reporter. Self-identified shy and avoidant individuals had low peer liking. Self-identified shy individuals had low disliking and low victimization. Peer-identified shy individuals had low disliking, high exclusion, and low aggression. Peer-identified unsociable individuals had low liking and high exclusion. Peer-identified avoidant individuals had low liking, high disliking, high exclusion, high victimization, and high aggression. Results suggest that peer-identified avoidant individuals have a concerning profile of peer relationships and aggression. Longitudinal work is needed to understand the developmental sequelae of avoidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aggression
  • avoidance
  • exclusion
  • shyness
  • unsociability
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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