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Shyness in Young Children

In the past 30 years, a burgeoning literature has accumulated on the topic of children’s shyness. This entry describes the origins, correlates, and consequences of shyness in childhood—a phenomenon which, under particular circumstances, can bring with it the behavioral expression of solitude and wariness in social company, rejection and victimization by peers, and negative feelings of self-regard.

Defining Shyness and Related Constructs

In their efforts to identify the etiology of children’s personalities and social behaviors, developmental scientists have attempted to determine the relevant dispositional dimensions of temperament that may underlie children’s actions that are displayed consistently across situations and continuously over time. One such dispositional construct is shyness. Shyness has been conceptualized as feelings of emotional wariness in the face of social novelty and/or feelings of self-consciousness ...

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