Anxiety Can Hinder Friendship Development

by Dave P.

A new study looks at children who are socially withdrawn — kids who want to interact with their peers but are afraid to do so — and how the shyness affects their emotional stability.

Experts know that as children move toward adolescence, they rely increasingly on close relationships with peers. However, socially withdrawn children, who have less contact with peers, may miss out on the support that friendships provide.

Socially withdrawn children who are classified as anxious-solitary are believed to experience competing motivations—they want to interact with peers, but the prospect of doing so causes anxiety that interferes with such interactions.

Anxious-solitary children were found to be more emotionally sensitive and more likely to be excluded and victimized by their peers. They’re also less likely to have friends, and when they do have friends, to have fewer than their peers and to lose friendships over time.

Researchers believe anxious-solitary children have a difficult time in forming and maintaining friendships – primarily because of their anxiety.

The study also found that having stable friendships protects children from being victimized by peers—and that both withdrawn and non-withdrawn children benefit from friendships in this way.

Read more…

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