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The Influence of Shyness and Social Approach/Withdrawal on the Relationship between Interpersonal and Non-Interpersonal Stressors and Anxiety Problems in Pre-Adolescent and Adolescent Children Open Access

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This study investigated the relationship between interpersonal stressors and anxiety, as moderated by shyness and social approach/withdrawal tendencies. It was hypothesized that when faced with various types of stressors, children who are rated as shy with a tendency towards social withdrawal are at greater risk for anxiety problems than children rated as sociable with a tendency towards social approach. It was also hypothesized that shyness and social approach/withdrawal have a greater impact on the relationship between interpersonal stressors and anxiety than non-interpersonal stressors. Data was drawn from a larger joint study of coping and job loss, conducted through The George Washington University and Arizona State University. Cross-informant data obtained from both the parent and child from a large sample of 203 subjects were analyzed. The model proposed in this study was not supported, although analysis indicated that higher levels of interpersonal stressors are associated with higher levels of anxiety in contrast to non-significant findings regarding the association of non-interpersonal stressors and anxiety. These findings are discussed, including how both null results and significant findings provide direction for future research, as well as clinical implications for the treatment of children and adolescents.

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