This study examined age differences in the content of children ’s self-generated descriptions of their classmates’ socially withdrawn behaviors (i.e., fearful shyness, self-conscious shyness, active isolation, and social disinterest). Children in Grade 1 (n=42) and Grade 5 (n=42) were interviewed and asked to describe the reasons, behaviors, and emotions of children who play alone. Results indicated that children in both grades made reference to several different reasons why children play alone, along with various behaviors and emotions that children display when playing alone. Children in Grade 5 made more references to self-conscious shyness and anxiety behaviors than did children in Grade 1, and they were more likely to describe peers as “shy.” In contrast, more children in Grade 1 described peers as socially disinterested than did children in Grade 5. Across grades, active isolation was viewed as the most problematic form of solitude. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for peer assessment of social withdrawal in school settings.

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Journal Journal of Research in Childhood Education
Gavinski Molina, M.-H. (Marie-Helene), Coplan, R, & Younger, A.J. (Alastair J.). (2003). A closer look at children’s knowledge about social isolation. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 18(2), 93–104. doi:10.1080/02568540409595025