Linking Child Social Anxiety and Peer Maladjustment: Social-Cognitive and Social-Behavioral Factors

Open Access
Author:
Erath, Stephen Andrew
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
July 27, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Karen Linn Bierman, Committee Chair
  • Susan Mc Hale, Committee Member
  • Jeffery Parker, Committee Member
  • Brian A Rabian, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • social anxiety
  • peer relations
  • middle school
  • social skills
  • social cognition
Abstract:
The present study aimed to advance understanding of social-cognitive and social-behavioral vulnerabilities to peer maladjustment among middle school children with elevated social anxiety. Hypothesized pathways linking social anxiety with peer acceptance and peer victimization were examined using reports of 84 target children, their peers and teachers, and behavioral observations. Regression models revealed that social behaviors mediated pathways linking social anxiety and problem-directed coping strategies with peer acceptance, and that social performance expectations were directly linked with peer acceptance. Social anxiety, self-directed coping strategies, and adaptive social behaviors were each directly linked with peer victimization for boys but not for girls. In addition, logistic regression analyses revealed that social interaction skills during conversation differentiated the peer acceptance status of children with elevated social anxiety. These findings and their implications for intervention are discussed.