The goals of the present research were to: (a) develop and provide preliminary validation of a parent-rated measure of social avoidance in early childhood; and (b) to evaluate a conceptual model of the direct and indirect links among young children's social withdrawal (shyness, unsociability, social avoidance), peer problems, and indices of internalizing problems (social anxiety, depression). Participants were N = 564 children (272 boys, 292 girls; Mage = 67.29 mos, SD = 11.70) attending kindergarten and Grade 1 classes in public schools in southeastern Ontario, Canada. A new subscale assessing social avoidance was added to an existing parent-rated measure of children's social withdrawal. Indices of children's socioemotional functioning were provided by parents and teachers. Among the results, the revised measure of multiple forms of social withdrawal demonstrated good psychometric properties, moderate stability 16 months later, and evidence of validity. Shyness, unsociability, and social avoidance also displayed differential patterns of associations with indices of children's socioemotional functioning. Results are discussed in terms of the assessment and implications of different forms of social withdrawal in early childhood.

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Keywords anxiety, assessment, peers/peer relations, shyness, social behavior
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Journal Social Development
Coplan, R, Ooi, L.L. (Laura L.), Xiao, B. (Bowen), & Rose-Krasnor, L. (Linda). (2018). Assessment and implications of social withdrawal in early childhood: A first look at social avoidance. Social Development, 27(1), 125–139. doi:10.1111/sode.12258