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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2012;41(3):329-36. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.668843. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Social skills as a mediator between anxiety symptoms and peer interactions among children and adolescents.

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1
Center for Children and Families, Florida International University, Child Anxiety and Phobia Program, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL 33199, USA.

Abstract

The present study used a cross-sectional design to examine the relations among youth anxiety symptoms, positive and negative peer interactions, and social skills. Also examined was the mediating role of social skills in the relations between youth anxiety symptoms and positive and negative peer interactions. Youth sex and age were examined as moderators. The sample consisted of 397 children and adolescents (M = 10.11 years; 53.4% boys; 74.8% Hispanic Latino) referred to an anxiety disorders clinic. Anxiety symptoms, positive and negative peer interactions, and social skills were assessed using youth and parent ratings. Structural equation modeling results indicated that for youth ratings only, youth anxiety symptoms were negatively related to positive peer interactions controlling for primary social phobia and comorbid depressive disorders. For both youth and parent ratings, youth anxiety symptoms were positively related to negative peer interactions and negatively related to social skills. Also for both youth and parent ratings, social skills mediated the relations between youth anxiety symptoms and positive and negative peer interactions. For parent ratings only, the effects of youth anxiety symptoms and social skills on peer interactions were significantly moderated by youth age. Youth sex was not a significant moderator using youth and parent ratings. Findings suggest that difficulties with social skills and peer interactions are problematic features of youth referred for anxiety problems. Findings highlight the need to improve understanding of anxiety symptoms, social skills, and peer interactions in this population.

PMID:
22471319
PMCID:
PMC3348994
DOI:
10.1080/15374416.2012.668843
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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