Behavioral profiles of anxious solitary children and heterogeneity in peer relations

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heidi Gazelle, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Anxious solitary (AS) children—children who desire peer interaction but often play alone among familiar peers because of shyness and social anxiety—may differ from one another substantially in the quality of their relations with peers. Although these children share hallmarks of anxious solitude—shyness (e.g., not having much to say to peers) and reticent behavior (onlooking solitary behavior or watching peers play without joining in and unoccupied solitary behavior; Coplan, Rubin, Fox, Calkins, & Stewart, 1994)—when they do interact with peers, the nature of that interaction may nevertheless differ. Even though these children are more rejected and victimized than other children on average (Cillessen, Van Ijzendoorn, Van Lieshout, & Hartup, 1992; Egan & Perry, 1998; French, 1988, 1990; Gazelle et al., 2005), recent research has revealed that there is substantial heterogeneity among AS children in the degree to which they encounter peer adversity (e.g., exclusion or victimization; Gazelle & Ladd, 2003; Gazelle & Rudolph, 2004). Moreover, this evidence has indicated that the adjustment trajectories of AS children who encounter peer adversity diverge from their nonmistreated counterparts over time—excluded AS children display more stable AS and report more depressive symptoms over time. These findings underscore the importance of understanding factors that contribute to heterogeneity in peer relations among AS children.

Additional Information

Developmental Psychology, 44, 1604-1624
Language: English
Date: 2008
exclusion, peer relations, shyness, social anxiety, social withdraw, victimization

Email this document to