SHYNESS

Shyness is something that all people experience at one time or another. In most cases it is a normal, temporary behavior. In children, some shyness is normal, especially when they are around 5-6 months of age, and then again at about two years of age. Shyness at these ages is considered a normal part of development. Shyness becomes a problem in a child when it interferes with relationships with other people, with social situations, school, and/or other important aspects of a child's life. Problems with shyness are usually evident by the time a child reaches three years of age. Shyness, which can be defined as a fear of, or withdrawal from, other people or social situations, can have many different causes depending on the individual child and the specific circumstances. Whatever the causes of shyness in a child, it is a behavior that parents must not ignore. Shyness can be very painful for a child to live with, and it can have negative effects on other aspects of a child's life. These negative effects can follow a child into adulthood, too. For example, many shy children develop low self esteem and lack self confidence. This can make it very difficult for shy children to make friends. Also, many shy children are so quiet that they don't receive the help they need from teachers at school, which may result in school performance that is not as good as it could be. Fortunately, shyness is often not a difficult problem to correct. Its

solution does, however, take a strong commitment from parents. Why Children Become Shy As mentioned earlier, shyness can have many different causes. There may be a specific cause for shyness in some children, while in others shyness may occur for a number of different reasons. Here are some of the reasons why children become shy: *Difficulty with frequent exposure to new situations. Children, of course, don't have the life experience that adults do. For this reason, children are frequently exposed to new situations. Some children have trouble coping with new situations, and tend to withdraw as a result. *Heredity. Some research has shown that shyness runs in families. It has not been determined if shyness that runs in families is genetic in cause, or if it is due to learning. *Inconsistent parenting. Some shyness may be caused by parenting practices that are not consistent, for example, punishing for a specific behavior one day, and then letting it slide by the next, being overinvolved with a child some of the time, and uninvolved at other times. Inconsistency makes children feel insecure, which can lead to shyness. *Too much threatening, teasing, or criticism. Children who are frequently threatened, teased or criticized, either by family members or by other people may learn to expect only negative feedback from others. This expectation will lead to the avoidance of social situations and contact with other people. *Lack of parental involvement. Some parents may seem disinterested in their children's lives for a number of reasons. For example, parents may mistakenly believe that they will promote independence in their children if they let their children fend for themselves. Others simply may not have the time or the desire to be very involved in their children's lives. Whatever the reason, decreased parental involvement can lead children to believe that they are not worthy of others' attention. This will in turn affect social relationships. Children who do not believe that other people are interested in them will probably feel very uncomfortable in social

thus their children have difficulty learning how to make friends and how to behave socially. too. Friendships are a very important part of children's emotional development. Such children are often insecure. Thus. or talked into doing things that they don't want to do. *Difficulty sticking up for oneself. Children who are overprotected by their parents often don't have the opportunity to be independent socially. Children who have low opinions of themselves expect other people to feel the same way. . *Overprotective parents. *Modeling or learned behavior.situations. *Lack of experience in social situations. these frightened children may withdraw. and these effects can last throughout life. The Negative Effects of Shyness Shyness can affect children's lives in many different ways. too. which can then cause shyness. Because of this. these children often lack the confidence needed to make decisions for themselves. Children may become shy because they have not yet learned how to effectively take part in social situations. This belief can lead to shy behavior. parents who are shy often have children who are shy. Some children seem shy almost from birth. *Difficulty making and maintaining friendships. *Shy temperament. As a result. Shy adults may have few friends or social interests. Because children learn from watching their parents. they are often taken advantage of by peers. *Low self-esteem or negative opinion of oneself. and therefore avoid them. shy children are often lonely. when exposed to social situations. are fearful of social situations. Because of this difficulty in making friends. Many shy children have trouble asserting themselves. Sometimes these shy babies grow into being shy children. Many shy children do not have the social skills necessary to make friends. Many shy children.

shy parents often have shy children. Parents should begin teaching their children while they are very young how to behave in social situations. Prevention Shyness in children. shy children often have difficulty relating to other people. shy children may be avoided by peers. etc. activities. can be prevented. As mentioned before. parents can enroll their children in play groups and other activities involving different people. Parents. such as saying please and thank-you. Parents should try to be good role models of non-shy behaviors. Shy children are often reluctant to ask for help from their teachers when they need it. Because shy children often avoid other people and social situations. Shy children have often not learned how to adequately express themselves. introducing oneself to others. Starting when their children are young. they often don't learn effective communication skills. shy children often bottle up their emotions. expressing themselves. Parents can do this in many ways. For example. therefore. Because of this. and interacting with others. starting when . Because they lack communication skills. questions shy children may have often go unanswered. must let their children see them making social contacts. *Teach social skills. and social situations. Peers may misinterpret shyness as disinterest or aloofness. *Model non-shy behaviors. Because of this. *Difficulty expressing emotions. in many cases. *Expose children to many different people and social situations. As a result. *Difficulties with effective communication. Parents should help their children learn how to make and maintain friendships. *Shyness may lead to problems in school.*Others may see shy children as aloof or stuck up. parents should introduce their children to many different people. Here are some things that parents can do. Parents can also teach their children appropriate social behaviors. Parents should also make an effort to praise their children when they exhibit appropriate social behaviors.

they can make more and more decisions for themselves. honesty. but well within their children's capabilities. parents should work hard to establish a trusting relationship with their children. and may come to believe that there is little than can be done about their shyness. Parents can do this in many ways. A part of shyness in children can be mistrust of others. Love and affection are best given freely. *Don't label children as shy or allow anyone else to. Such feelings. For this reason. *Build a trusting relationship. However. Parents should take every opportunity to show their children that they are loved. siblings. and adequate. Children who are labeled as shy by their parents or others may begin to see themselves as shy. However. enhance self-esteem. because such children may live up to their parents' expectations. they can say something like. They can give their children responsibilities such as chores. and openness are all important parts of a trusting relationship. parents should intervene. affection and attention. even very young children can decide what to wear when given a choice out of two outfits. if parents feel that they must explain their children's quietness and bashful behavior to others. Parents can also encourage their children to make decisions. If labeling happens. Children thrive when they feel loved and cared for by their parents. Broken promises and inconsistent . parents should make sure that they are always available to help when needed. He'll feel like talking a little later. Parents should take every opportunity to help their children feel important. or other children to label the child as shy. parents must make sure that their children know that they will always be loved. Therefore. capable. no matter what they do or say. For example. Parents should make sure that the tasks assigned are challenging.they are very young. Parents should avoid calling their children shy. Parents should try to be consistent in their actions toward their children so they know what to expect from their parents." Parents should also not allow other adults. This can be done in many ways. As children get older. *Help children feel capable. *Provide lots of love. when instilled in children. not conditionally. "Joey needs time to get used to new people. It is best for parents not to try to explain their children's bashfulness to others. This can be done through both words and actions. Consistency.

Any punishment should be appropriate for the behavior being punished. children become shy. by expressing themselves appropriately. appropriate discipline. Intervention Sometimes despite the best efforts on the part of parents. Learning how to communicate with other people is an important skill for children to have. and as a result. Appropriate discipline also helps children learn what to expect from their parents and the world around them. Here are some things that parents can do to help their children overcome shyness. Parents should ease their children into learning non-shy behaviors. for children are very perceptive and can sense when information is being withheld or when they are being lied to. Children who are disciplined too severely often feel that they have no control over their lives. It builds confidence and self-esteem. Parents should start early by talking to their children frequently. Parents who pay too much . trust is a reciprocal relationship. *Teach effective communication. *Provide adequate. too. teaching in small steps. Furthermore. Any teaching parents do to help their children overcome shyness should involve gradual steps. *Encourage changes slowly. parents should try to set a good example. Parents must take care to give their children time to approach each new situation at their own pace. *Be careful not to reinforce shyness.behavior can hurt trusting relationships. parents must learn to trust their children so their children will learn to trust them. appropriate discipline helps children feel secure. It allows children to learn which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. and teaching their children how to express their feelings (even anger) appropriately. and this loss of control may result in shyness. Discipline provides structure in children's lives. Parents should also be open and honest with their children. Parents must be careful not to discipline excessively. Parents should also create opportunities for their children to feel comfortable talking to them about issues of concern. Since children learn a lot about communication by watching their parents.

Instead. and praise their children for their attempts at being sociable. *Praise non-shy behaviors and advances. Parents should make sure . or a good word are more likely to be repeated. *Don't expect too much or too little from children. Parents who answer questions for and speak for their shy children may reinforce shy behavior. Behaviors that are rewarded with a smile. *Don't speak for shy children. *Don't let shy children isolate themselves. encourage activities with others. While parents shouldn't expect their children to always be outgoing and talkative.attention to or punish their children's shy behavior may end up reinforcing it. they have a tendency to withdraw from others and as a result spend a lot of time alone. Parents should be careful not to tease their children and not to let others do so. Instead of trying to get shy children to speak or punishing children for exhibiting shyness. not their failures. Parents shouldn't criticize. parents should provide opportunities for their children to socialize and encourage them to do so. Children who are frequently teased may withdraw from others to avoid being teased. and they can only do this if they are given the chance. Instead. either. even if no harm is meant by it. but should respect their children's feelings if situations become overwhelming. nag or threaten their children when they act shy. a pat on the back. When children take steps to overcome their shyness. Shy children need to learn to speak for themselves. Parents should not allow their shy children to spend long periods of time alone. They should remain calm and treat shyness matter-of-factly. parents can encourage their children's friendships. parents should provide ample amounts of praise. or to participate in normal social activities. parents should try not to overreact. nor should they force them to do things that they aren't ready to do. Parents should remember to focus on their children's improvements. can do serious harm to children's selfesteem. it is not asking too much to expect children to respond when someone speaks to them. Since shy children are so often uncomfortable around other people. Teasing. *Don't tease or let other family members tease shy children.

Parents can play the part of a peer or classmate. *Practice and role play non-shy behaviors. Again. parents should keep in mind their children's ages and ability levels. starting a conversation. *Encourage and teach responsibility and independence. Responsibilities help children feel capable. Parents must start early and provide their children with responsibilities that are within their child's capabilities. It is a great boost for self-esteem when children see themselves as responsible and independent. and the shy child can play the part of a non-shy peer or classmate. *Desensitize shyness. To help their children prepare for such situations. Parents can encourage independence in their children by letting them do things for themselves when they are able to. They can refuse to do things that they don't want to do. Children who are overly dependent are often reluctant to take the risks involved in making friends and taking part in social activities. Practicing non-shy behaviors helps give children the confidence needed to engage in these behaviors in real life situations. asking to be included in a game. and by encouraging them to solve their own problems. Parents should teach their children how to ask for the things that they want. for example. Parents should take steps to expose their children to other people and situations that usually elicit shyness. parents can practice behaviors and responses with their children before attempting the real thing. Many shy children have learned to be too dependent on their parent(s) or other adults in their lives. Parents can help their children practice non-shy behaviors by role playing. etc. Parents should be very careful to do this slowly and gradually. Parents must also take steps to teach their children to be independent. keeping in mind their children's ages and their individual personalities. and children can practice. and to offer lots of support. Independence comes in gradual steps. Another way to role play is role reversal. *Teach assertiveness. This does not mean that parents should require their children to behave like adults. by encouraging them to make decisions. Parents can play the part of the shy child. Parents should teach their . Teaching assertiveness also involves showing children that they do not have to give in to peer pressure.their expectations for their children are neither too high nor too low.

*Communicate with children's teacher(s) and/or school. Parents should be careful not to force their children. Positive self-talk is saying positive things about one's self to one's self. *Encourage involvement in activities where children can excel. *Set up a reward system. *Teach positive self-talk. making eye contact. Specific behaviors should be selected. going to the park to play. inviting a friend over to play. to participate in activities in which they are not interested. Being able to do something well is an excellent booster for self-esteem. when a shy child gets up the courage to ask a friend over to play. They should avoid fighting their children's battles for them. responding when an adult speaks to them. the more likely they will be to actually believe them and incorporate the positive feelings that go along with them. drawing a smiley face. such as sports or hobbies. Children and parents should make a chart and hang it in the home. etc. Parents should enlist their children's teacher's assistance in discouraging shy behaviors and encouraging appropriate social behaviors. Parents should keep in mind that material rewards such as toys or candy don't work as well as non-material rewards such as activities. parents can teach them to use positive self-talk aimed at convincing children that they are not shy. Parents can set up a reward system to encourage their children to behave in nonshy ways. for example. Parents. The more children repeat good things about themselves to themselves. a reward should be given.) When a certain amount of the targeted behaviors have occurred (a number decided upon by parents and children). Some examples of effective rewards include being allowed to stay up an hour past regular bedtime. Positive self-talk is a very powerful tool for children to have. at which they can excel. he or she can say to . though. it should be recorded on the chart (for example by using a sticker.children how to behave in an assertive manner and then leave it to them. should discuss the situation with their children's teacher and other school personnel. When non-shy behaviors occur. etc. going on a picnic with the family. Parents should help their children find activities. being careful not to label their children as shy. Rewards should be decided upon by children and parents together. For example. etc. With regard to shy children.

and Nicholas Long." Shy children often believe that there is nothing they can do about their shyness. PhD. Carducci. Shyness Research Institute.parenting-ed. that it is a part of their personalities that will not change. Washington. Department of Pediatrics. I can talk to people and make friends.org Center for Effective Parenting Little Rock Center: (501) 364-7580 NW Arkansas Center: (479) 751-6166 Written by Kristen Zolten. www. .C. Amanda Brown. Carducci. Parents should use positive self-talk to help teach their children that this is not true. August 2000 Why Shy?: A Content Analysis of Self-Perceived Causes of Shyness Bernardo J. "I'm not shy. Michelle Henderson Angela Marie Walisser.. M.himself something like. David Mayfield Shyness Research Institute Indiana University Southeast Alison C. McLeish Duke University Address all correspondence to: Bernardo J. David Henderson. Director. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Artwork by Scott Snider © 1997 Running Head: WHY SHY? Poster Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association. D.A.

\Dec. 1995 issue of Psychology Today (Carducci & Zimbardo. A content analysis revealed five general categories of self-perceived causes of shyness. the purpose of the present study is to gain a more in-depth understanding of shyness by performing a content analysis of the extended written responses from a nation-wide non-collegiate sample of shy individuals describing what they believe to be the cause of their shyness. 1995 Psychology Today.Indiana University Southeast. The respondents. 1995) and mailed it to the first author. ³other. ranging in age from 12 to 69 years of age. Cheek & Watson. and clinical sophistication (Carducci. representing a variety of educational levels and ethnic backgrounds. Carducci & Zimbardo. Procedures: Six raters were given 40 surveys each.edu. Materials: The 1995 Psychology Today Survey on Shyness consisted of ten fixed-format items and five open-ended requesting questions. While attempts to address this issue have examined how non-collegiate samples of shy individuals define and experience their shyness (cf. concerns have been expressed with respect to the extent that this research. & tormented). causes. Each rater read the written responses to the question: "Describe what factors you believe have contributed to your shyness?" and summarized each self-perceived causal statement provided. with complete confidentially. 1995). the contemporary literature on shyness represents a steady progression of development characterized by an increasing level of theoretical. Carducci 1998. However. which tends to rely primarily on the use of college students completing fixed-format questionnaires.23 years of age) completed. methodological. A discussion of the temporal and attributional patterns of the self-perceived causal explanations and the treatment implications of the results are also presented Why Shy? A Content Analysis of Self-Perceived Causes of Shyness Within the last twenty years.\Dec. a shyness survey appearing in the Nov. victimization (genetic.´ and causal uncertainty/no answer category. Abstract The purpose of the present study was to assess the extended written comments of shy individuals regarding the self-perceived causes of their shyness. Because of the open-ended . 1999. an aspect missing from this literature is an examination of the self-perceived cause of shyness. physical disabilities. personal difficulties (intrapersonal/psychological disruptions & interpersonal/social disruptions). In response to such concern. 1989) and the self-selected strategies/treatments they employed to deal with their shyness (Carducci 1997). to study the definition. IN 47150 or E-mail: bcarducc@ius. New Albany. with a mean of 33. Methods Participants: The 240 participants (74 males and 150 females. 1984a. with 16 respondents failing to indicate gender. The 240 participants were randomly selected from 800 individuals completing a shyness survey appearing in the Nov. were randomly selected from a larger sample of over 800 returned surveys. 1989). once of which asked the respondents to describe what causal factors contributed to their shyness. Cheek and Watson. abuse. including seven subcategories: family factors (family lifestyles & parenting). and treatment of shyness accurately reflects the actual nature of how shyness is experienced by shy individuals in their everyday lives (Harris.

Results Overall.g. over-protective or judgmental parent(s)... respondents were free to state more than one self-perceived cause. bosses. victimization. psychological. which included four subcategories. such as ³don¶t know´ or ³not sure´ (5%. or sexual abuse by family members. the pattern of results seems to reflect an emphasis on the . a total of 1382 self-perceived causal statements were identified by all six of the raters. The disabilities subcategory (8%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to real or imagined problems with one's physical appearance (e. The parenting subcategory (19%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to styles of parent-child interaction and child-rearing techniques and practices (e. being born shy or shyness being innate).. n = 102).g.8 statements per respondent. facial acne or being overweight).nature of the question.g. The abuse subcategory (5%) included self-perceived causes related to being abused (e. or tormented for being different or inferior. divorce. 48% of the self-perceived causes of shyness were classified into a family factors category. n = 63). The interpersonal difficulties subcategory (11%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to the individual's difficulty interacting with others (e. The family/family lifestyles subcategory (21%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to life organization patterns of the nuclear and extended family (e. depressed. speech impediment or race or cultural factors). Each statement was then rated by all six raters and assigned to one of ten causal categories. In addition. Discussion The present study demonstrates the diversity of the possible explanations shy individuals have to account for their shyness. which included two subcategories. The ³other´ category (3%. there was a tendency to focus on early experiences with family members and peers as principal causal factors. or no statement given to the question (7%. teased.. emotional. and being rejected by a romantic interest). A tormented subcategory (2%) included being bullied. n 165) included the statements of causal uncertainty.. Finally. high selfconsciousness. or caretakers). dating difficulties.. and abilities (e. The intrapersonal difficulties subcategory (9%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to unfavorable and/or unpleasant thoughts that created a negative self-image (e. The genetics subcategory (9%) included self-perceived causes of shyness related to genetics (e.. teachers.g. n = 37) included an assortment of statements that did not fit into any of the other previously noted categories while the ³no answer´ category (12%. sexual inadequacies). feeling stupid.. parents lacking and/or failing to teach social skills).g. Content Analysis The content analysis of the statements surveys revealed five general problem areas: family factors.. and a ³no answer´ category. Personal Difficulties: Twenty percent of the self-perceived causes were classified into a personal difficulties category. with a mean of 5. family violence. birth order.g.g. personal difficulties. not being a good athletic or dancer. physical. or anxious).g. low self-esteem. family relocating). Victimization: Twenty-four percent of the self-perceived causes were classified into a victimization category. coaches. poor social skills. characteristics (e. with many citing factors from more than one causal category. an "other" category. which included two subcategories. verbal.g. Family Factors: As seen in Table 1.

85-95. Carducci.. (1997. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association. 66.. Marion... & Duncan. (1999). M. (1984a). Identifying the pains and problems of shyness: A content analysis. The definition of shyness: Psychological imperialism or construct validity. D. 68.g. & Watson. K. Lynch. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. Top-10 self-selected strategies to overcome shyness: A content analysis. 1999). L.. 1997) The results of the present study also have implications for the treatment of shyness by taking into consideration the causal beliefs of the shy individuals (cf. 34-41. M.. & Boley.g. August). Carducci. & Zimbardo. Cheek.. personal difficulties category. K. New York: HarperCollins. 64. family factors and victimization categories. those shy individuals whose causal concerns with shyness are assumed to be internal in nature might benefit most from individualized treatment programs emphasizing cognitive modification to help minimize feelings of self-doubt and a sense of victimization. Carducci. Shyness and psychological imperialism: On the dangers of ignoring the ordinary language roots of the terms we deal with. as well as ecologically valid. Shyness: A bold new approach. (1989). Ragains. A. A. n = 566) Percent Responding _________________ . B. For example. J. L. R. J. C. 70. P.self-perceived causes of shyness being attributed more to external sources (e. B. R. 82. Table 1 Frequency Summary of the Content Analysis of Self-Reported Causal Categories of Shyness* Causal Area ___________________________________ Family Factors (40%. Johnson. J. D. Carducci. San Francisco. (1998. 14. J. B. A discussion of the benefits and limitations of employing extending written comments to create a more personalized. Chicago. References Carducci.. totaling only 20% of responses). P. 78. J. H. August). totaling 64% of the responses) than to internal sources (e.. Carducci et al. Harris. B.. approach to studying shyness and suggestions for future research will also be presented. Such an attributional bias may be self-serving by allowing shy individuals to blame others for their problems with shyness and justify the limited number of self-initiated strategies shy individuals employ to deal with their shyness (cf. R. M. G. European Journal of Social Psychology. K. Are you shy? Psychology Today.. Poster session presentation at the meeting of the American Psychological Association. Kee. (1995.. J. Those whose causal concerns are assumed to be external in nature might benefit most from group treatment programs emphasizing social support and interaction to address family-factor issues and offering opportunities to improve social skills. 4. 169-181. November/December). Dosch. M.

n = 37) No Answer (12%. n = 276) Intrapersonal/Psychological Disruptions Interpersonal/Social Disruptions Victimization (24%. Toronto. n = 338) Genetic Disabilities Abuse Tormented Other (3%. n = 165) 21% (n = 295) 19% (n = 271) 9% (n = 125) 11% (n = 151) 9% (n = 125) 8% (n = 111) 5% (n = 75) 2% (n = 27) _________________________________________________________________________________________ * Number of respondents given in parenthesis (N = 1382) Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.Family/Family Lifestyles Parenting Personal Difficulties (20%. August 2003 Running head: TEEN SHYNESS .

Wagner Suffern High School. New York Mervil Carmickle Shyness Research Institute Indiana University Southeast .How Shy Teens Deal with Shyness: Strategic and Gender Differences Bernardo J. Carducci Shyness Research Institute Indiana University Southeast Ariel Fuchs Marilyn G.

2002. that are more likely to elicit shyness than others for both adults and adolescents (Carducci & Clark. New Albany. 1982. Crozier. Carducci & Ragains. Carducci. Carducci & Clark.edu. Indiana University Southeast. 2000a. 1977). 1993. IN 47150 or bcarducc@ius. Carducci & Zimbardo. such as interacting with authority figures and members of the opposite sex. 1995. . Shyness Research Institute.Address all correspondence to: Bernardo J. Zimbardo. How Shy Teens Deal with Shyness: Strategic and Gender Differences Research from varying sources over the past 20 years indicates that approximately 40% of adults and adolescents surveyed currently consider themselves to be shy (Carducci. past research has also consistently demonstrated that there are certain situations. In addition.

with 19 items examining general demographic.34. academic. ranging in age from 14 to 19 (M = 16. 1990). 2002) surveyed indicated they were willing to do something about their shyness. and social information and 11 items examining various aspects of shyness. such as the shyness-provoking situations. and self-selected strategies for dealing with shyness. all 494 students in grades 9 to 12 were asked to complete the Social Interaction Survey consisting of 30 fixed-format self-report items. Overall Analysis The first column of Table 1 summarizes the percentage of all shy teens who employed various self-selected .1993. 1993) and 72. only the responses for the self-selected strategies are presented. While the previous research has investigated a variety of the self-selected strategies used by adults to deal with their shyness (Carducci. Results Since the research dealt with the reactions of shy individuals. self-perceived causes of shyness. Given the developmental significance associated with peer relationships during adolescents (cf. 2002. selected from a population of 494 students attending a suburban public high school located in an eastern metropolitan city. 1999).5% of adolescents (Carducci & Ragains. 1977). the purpose of the present study is to examine the self-selected strategies shy adolescents employ to deal with their shyness. such research is lacking in the study of shyness in adolescents. In the spirit of replication research (Rosenthal. Zimbardo. In attempt to cope with their shyness 85% of adults (Carducci & Clark. Carducci & Ragains. the responses from only those 162 individuals who responded ³yes´ to the survey question: Do you consider yourself to be a shy person?´ were included in the present analysis. Atwater.. 1996). Carducci et al. the study of shyness as a barrier to such interpersonal relations is of critical importance (Cheek & Krasnoperova. 2000c. 1997). Because of the voluminous nature of the data. Method Participants Participants were 162 high school students (75 males and 87 females). In their respective English classrooms.

7%) of school. 19.2%). trying to make social contact with others through individualistic or affiliative responses). Finally. The least frequent self-selected strategy was a cluster of responses characterized by receiving assistance from mental health professionals (4. 34. in contrast to previous research (Carducci.7%) as a self-selected strategy (Carducci.1%). The pattern of results indicates that the males were more likely than the females to self-select the individualistic-type strategies of trying to make conversation with others (72. 2.1%).0% vs. 66.3%) and outside (51.6% vs. tying to go to public places (44. More specifically.6%) to a greater degree than previously identified with shy adults (12.0% vs.5%).5%). A rather troubling finding among the present results was the tendency for shy teens to utilize alcohol and drugs (21. The second most-frequent self-selected strategy was a cluster of affiliative responses characterized by the shy teen joining group activities outside of (45. shy teens were less likely than shy adults to seek assistance from mental health professionals (4.7%) and in (44. the most frequent self-selected strategy was an individualistic response characterized by the shy teen trying to make conversation with others (69. 1. 2000c). The forth most-frequent self-selected strategy was an individualistic response characterized by the shy teen using alcohol or drugs (21. the males were more likely than the females to receive assistance from mental health processionals (8. The third most-frequent self-selected strategy was another individualist response characterized by the shy teen trying to go to public places to meet people (38. Discussion The present study replicates and extends the findings of previous research investigating the self-selected strategies of shy individuals to deal with their shyness.0% vs.5%) while females were more likely than males to self-select the affiliative responses characterized by joining group activities both in (50.e.. 38. Although the percentage of both groups was rather low.7% vs.4%) school. The results of the present study extend previous research by examining gender differences in the self- . self-selecting the various strategies to deal with their shyness. and using alcohol and drugs (24.9%) or information from self-help books (2. Analysis of Gender Differences The second and third columns of Table 1 summarize the percentage of shy females and males. 37. 2000c).strategies to deal with their shyness.6%). Carducci. 2000c). consistent with previous results investigating the self-selected strategies of shy adults to deal with their shyness (cf.9%).0% vs.9% vs.7%).5% vs.0% vs.3%) or information from self-help books (4. 14. 15. As indicated.6%) and self-help books (2. the mostfrequently utilized self-selected strategies by shy adolescents were characterized by ³forced extraversion´ (i. respectively.

The pattern of results indicates that shy females are more likely than shy males to deal with their shyness by selecting strategies that involve turning to others while shy males are more likely than shy females to select strategies that involve taking actions by themselves. Nobody left to hate: Teaching compassion after Columbine. Such a pattern of results is consistent with the more general ³tend-and-befriend´ response to stress in females characterized by seeking and providing social support (Taylor et al. Aronson. use alcohol and drugs to deal with their shyness. . 2000b). because some shy teens. Carducci. E. the study of adolescent shyness has implications for understanding some of the more extreme examples of adolescent violence as exhibited by recent high school shootings perpetrated by shy. Because social norms favor males as the initiator of social contact. 1999). New York: W. teachers. H. Finally. Page. parents and teachers should encourage shy teens. The results of the present study have a number of treatment implications for parents. to help shy teens in their efforts to make conversation with others. socially isolated. teachers should consider including in the general curriculum information on such topics as the basic elements and protocol for approaching and engaging others in social conversation (cf. 1990). especially shy males. and mental health professionals to help shy teens deal with their shyness. Freeman. For example. angry adolescents labeled as ³cynically shy´ (Carducci. References Aronson. In addition. shy males may be more inclined to select strategies that are more proactive. and mental health professionals should also be sensitive to the possibility of substance abuse issues. (2001). Such strategies are also more likely to carry a greater risk of rejection and public embarrassment for shy males should their individualistic efforts to initiate social contact fail. 2000). especially shy males (cf. and done without social support.selected strategies used by shy individuals to deal with their shyness. In support of the benefits of the ³tend-and-befriend´ response. Finally. parents. teachers. to become more involved in social clubs and activities as a means of establishing a social support network. service learning programs through the school and other community volunteer activities have been proposed as offering shy individuals nonthreatening opportunities for practicing and developing their social skills in a semi-structured social environment while minimizing feelings of social anxiety and self-consciousness (Carducci. 2001).. 2000b) and the development of strategies for reducing the social isolation experienced by such socially disenfranchised adolescents (cf. public.

68. J. B. 171-185). N. & Zimbardo. Dosch. and affective tendencies of chronically and transitionally shy individuals. J. L.). (1999). 25. A.. J. L. D. J. R. Carducci. (2000c). New York: Oxford University Press. Toronto. R. D. K. (1990). and social phobia: Origins. Cheek. change (pp. consolidation.. R. In W. P. A. Chicago. Shyness: Development. E.Atwater. Shyness and sociability: A dangerous combination for illicit substances use in adolescent males? Adolescence. & Clark. & Krasnoperova. Lynch. and clinical outcomes (pp. Replication in behavioral research. . Crozier.. In L. Carducci. Chicago. J. Crozier (Ed. Psychology Today. (1982). J. 82. 2. 47-60. (2002. B. cognitive. (1999). 78. shyness. 42-45. August).. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. & Boley. (1995 November/December). 5. Carducci. Carducci. Poster presentation at the meeting of the American Psychological Association. Explanations of social shyness. Shyness: A bold new approach. G. J. The personal and situational pervasive of shyness in adolescents. New York: HarperPerennial. W. Poster presentation at the meeting of the American Psychological Association. (2000b). Shyness: The new solution. Page. (1990). C. Carducci. Poster presentation at the meeting of the American Psychological Association. B.). August). What shy individuals do to cope with their shyness: A content analysis. Carducci. Rosenthal. August). (1993. M. M.. M. B. 1-30. Upper Saddle River. Varieties of shyness in adolescence and adulthood. 224-250). Extreme fear. B. Schulkin (Eds. B. biological mechanisms. Are you shy? Psychology Today. J. Carducci. Ontario. & 78. Canada. Top-ten self-selected strategies to overcome shyness: A content analysis.).. NJ: Prentice Hall. R. Marion. E. R. IN: Pocket Guide Publishing. 33. Schmidt & J. (2000a). 64. New Albany. 803-806. J. & Ragains. 38-40. Current Psychological Reviews. Behavioral. Adolescence (4th ed. (1996). M. Carducci. (1997. 34-41. The pocket guide to making successful small talk: How to talk to anyone anytime anywhere about anything. B. B.. New York: Routledge.. 70.

P.. B.0 (3) Used Alcohol or Drugs 21.1 (1) 4.. park) to meet people 38. & Updegraff. P. L.7 (58) 72.g.9 (8) 2. R. T.0 (6) . MA: Addison-Wesley. Lewis. J.0 (33) Tried making conversation with people I would like to know 69. E. S.Taylor. Gurung. mall..5 (4) 1. Shyness: What is it. Klein.6 (35) 19. 107.0 (18) Had individual therapy/counseling 4. what to do about it. R.5 (30) 44. Reading. A. C. A.. 411-429. (1977). Table 1 Percentage of Self-Selected Strategies used by Shy Teens to Overcome Shyness* ____________________________________________________________________________ All Shy Teens Shy Females Self-Selected Strategies _________________________________ Tried going to public places (e.5 (17) 24. Gruenewald.. dances. Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: Tend-and befriend. G. Psychological Review.3 (2) 8.0 (54) Read Self-Help Books 2. L.1 (112) 66. Zimbardo.9 (63) n = 162 n = 87 Shy Males n = 75 ________________________________________ 34. (2000). not fight-or-flight.

Joined clubs or extracurricular activities in school 44.3 (28) Joined activities outside school 45.7 (29) ____________________________________________________________________________ *Number of participants selecting each strategy given in parentheses .7 (45) 38.6 (44) 37.4 (72) 50.7 (74) 51.