Despite growing research results indicating that shyness is a risk factor for psychosocial maladjustment in childhood, less is known about the conceptual mechanisms that may underlie these associations. The purpose of the current study was to explore links between self-reported shyness, coping strategies and social functioning in middle childhood. As well, we sought to examine the reliance on internalizing coping strategies as a potential mediator of the link between shyness and social functioning. Participants were 355 children aged 9 to 11 years who completed measures of shyness, loneliness, positive and negative affect, social anxiety, self-concept, well-being, and coping strategies. Results indicated that shyness was associated with greater internalizing difficulties and lower well-being. Moreover, internalizing coping was found to partially mediate the relation between shyness and certain indices of internalizing problems. These results suggest a conceptual pathway, where an over-reliance on internalizing coping may partially explain why shy children experience internalizing difficulties in middle childhood.

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International Journal of Behavioral Development
Carleton University

Findlay, L.C. (Leanne C.), Coplan, R, & Bowker, A. (2009). Keeping it all inside: Shyness, internalizing coping strategies and socio-emotional adjustment in middle childhood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33(1), 47–54. doi:10.1177/0165025408098017