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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2008 May;36(4):553-66. doi: 10.1007/s10802-007-9199-z. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Trajectories of social withdrawal from middle childhood to early adolescence.

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Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, 3304 Benjamin Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Heterogeneity and individual differences in the developmental course of social withdrawal were examined longitudinally in a community sample (N = 392). General Growth Mixture Modeling (GGMM) was used to identify distinct pathways of social withdrawal, differentiate valid subgroup trajectories, and examine factors that predicted change in trajectories within subgroups. Assessments of individual (social withdrawal), interactive (prosocial behavior), relationship (friendship involvement, stability and quality, best friend's withdrawal and exclusion/victimization) and group- (exclusion/victimization) level characteristics were used to define growth trajectories from the final year of elementary school, across the transition to middle school, and then to the final year of middle school (fifth-to-eighth grades). Three distinct trajectory classes were identified: low stable, increasing, and decreasing. Peer exclusion, prosocial behavior, and mutual friendship involvement differentiated class membership. Friendlessness, friendship instability, and exclusion were significant predictors of social withdrawal for the increasing class, whereas lower levels of peer exclusion predicted a decrease in social withdrawal for the decreasing class.

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