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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2011 Jun;42(3):291-306. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0215-8.

Parental and peer predictors of social anxiety in youth.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The aim of the current study was to extend etiological models of social anxiety in youth by examining the relative importance of parental (i.e., parental anxiety, rejection, and overcontrol) and peer factors (i.e., social acceptance, social support, and friendship quality). Sixty-three youth (ages 7–12; 52% male) and their parents participated in the study. Using multiple informants of these factors, results generally indicated that higher levels of parental anxiety, rejection, and overcontrol were related to higher levels of social anxiety. Higher levels of social support, acceptance, and validation were associated with lower levels social anxiety. The strongest predictors of social anxiety symptoms (as rated by an independent evaluator) were parental anxiety and friendship quality (i.e., validation from a peer). The strongest predictors of child rated social anxiety symptoms were parental overcontrol and perceived social acceptance. Findings are discussed in the context of current etiological models and suggest that interventions aimed at lowering social anxiety in youth address both parental anxiety and peer relationships.

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