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J Youth Adolesc. 2015 Apr;44(4):833-46. doi: 10.1007/s10964-014-0113-z. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Shy, but funny? Examining peer-valued characteristics as moderators of the associations between anxious-withdrawal and peer outcomes during early adolescence.

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Department of Psychology, 224 Park Hall, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, 14260-4100, USA,


Research has revealed significant heterogeneity in the group-level peer outcomes associated with anxious-withdrawal, but little is known about possible sources of this heterogeneity during early adolescence. This study of 271 young adolescents (49 % female; M age = 11.54 years) examined whether the concurrent and short-term longitudinal (3 month period) associations between peer-nominated anxious-withdrawn behaviors and three group-level peer outcomes (overt victimization, peer acceptance, popularity) varied as a function of peer-valued characteristics (humor, prosocial behavior, physical attractiveness, athletic ability) and gender, after accounting for the effects of involvement in mutual friendships. Regression analyses revealed that the associations between anxious-withdrawal and peer outcomes were moderated by peer-valued characteristics and, in many cases, gender. For example, anxious-withdrawal was related positively to overt victimization for all adolescents who were high in prosocial behavior. But, anxious-withdrawal was related negatively to popularity for adolescent boys who were high in prosocial behavior and adolescent girls who were low in prosocial behavior. Anxious-withdrawal also predicted increases in acceptance for adolescent girls who were high in humor, but decreases in acceptance for adolescent boys who were high in humor. Several additional moderator effects were found for boys only. The findings highlight the importance of considering the unique constellation of characteristics displayed by anxious-withdrawn young adolescents in studies on peer experiences at the group-level of social complexity.

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