Anxiety affects friendships

September 4th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 4 (IANS) While growing from childhood to adolescence, children rely on close ties with their peers but if they are withdrawn they miss out on the support that such friendships provide, new research shows.

The study is based on peer relationships of almost 2,500 fifth graders who are socially withdrawn and those who are not withdrawn.

It was conducted by researchers from Arizona State University as part of the Pathways Project, an investigation of children’s social, psychological, and scholastic adjustment in school, the journal Child Development reports.

Socially withdrawn kids classified as ‘anxious-solitary’ want to interact with peers but the prospect triggers anxiety, according to an Arizona statement.

The other category of ‘unsociable children’ have little desire to interact with peers but are not repelled by the prospect. The overtures of peers don’t make them feel anxious.

Compared with unsociable withdrawn youths and those who are not withdrawn, anxious-solitary children were found to be more emotionally sensitive and more likely to be excluded and victimized by their peers.

“Understanding withdrawn children’s friendships is important because they have fewer contacts with children their own age,” said Gary Ladd, professor of family and human development at Arizona, who led the study.

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