Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Ernest V.E. Hodges

Second Advisor

Lauren Moskowitz

Third Advisor

Mark Terjesen


Research into child and adolescent social withdrawal has identified multiple forms of withdrawal behavior, most of which fall under the subtypes of shyness or preference for solitude. Social withdrawal can lead to a variety of maladjustment outcomes, though there is evidence to suggest that the trajectory might differ depending on the form and function of social withdrawal experienced. However, much of the previous research in this area has failed to account for the moderate correlation between shyness and preference for solitude, which calls into question findings on distinctions between these two forms. We investigated the antecedents, correlates, and consequences of shyness and preference for solitude with a sample of 408 adolescents over a three-year period. Each analysis examining one form of social withdrawal included the other form of withdrawal as a covariate in order to control for the impact of their shared variance. Similar concurrent and longitudinal adjustment correlates were found in shyness and preference for solitude. We discovered that controlling for the other form of social withdrawal revealed a significant decrease in numerous found effects, particularly those on or from internalizing behavior. We hope to emphasize the magnitude of this correlation between social withdrawal subtypes and encourage researchers in this area to control for this shared variance in future work, especially when examining distinctions between shyness and preference for solitude. Given the documented importance of childhood peer relationships for long-term personal and social development, accurately assessing these constructs is critical.

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