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Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2010 Mar;13(1):91-128. doi: 10.1007/s10567-009-0063-2.

Peer experiences of anxious and socially withdrawn youth: an integrative review of the developmental and clinical literature.

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Department of Psychology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 300 Pulteney Street, Geneva, NY, USA.


Prior research indicates that both anxious youth and socially withdrawn youth tend to experience challenges and difficulties in various aspects of their peer relationships and social functioning. While clinical psychology researchers have examined how anxiety relates to peer experiences using normative and clinically anxious samples, developmental psychologists have focused primarily on the peer experiences of shy and withdrawn children. Research from these two fields has progressed on related yet separate paths, producing similar results despite using different terminology and assessment techniques. The purpose of this review is to bring together the developmental and clinical bodies of literature on the peer experiences of anxious and socially withdrawn youth by identifying common themes and unique contributions of each discipline. Studies reviewed focus specifically on the peer constructs of acceptance, friendship, peer victimization, social skills, and social-cognitive processes. Limitations including methodological inconsistencies and insufficient examination of age-, gender-, and ethnicity-related issues are identified. Recommendations for future collaborations between developmental and clinical researchers as well as implications for interventions targeting the peer relations of anxious and withdrawn youth are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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