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01-08-2012 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 8/2012

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 8/2012

Moderating Effects of Aggression on the Associations Between Social Withdrawal Subtypes and Peer Difficulties During Early Adolescence

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 8/2012
Auteurs:
Julie C. Bowker, Andrea Markovic, Alex Cogswell, Radhi Raja

Abstract

Recent research has revealed significant heterogeneity in the peer difficulties associated with social withdrawal subtypes during early adolescence, but little is known about possible sources of that heterogeneity. This study of 194 Indian young adolescents (48% female; 90% Hindu; M age = 13.35 years) evaluated whether the peer adversity related to self-reported social withdrawal subtypes (shyness, unsociability, avoidance) varied as a function of peer-nominated overt and relational aggression, and gender. Regression analyses revealed that overt aggression and gender moderated the pathways between shyness and peer exclusion and peer victimization such that the associations were significant and positive only for boys who were high and girls who were low in overt aggression. Several additional moderator effects were found, including results revealing that relational aggression (in certain cases, in conjunction with gender) moderated the association between: (1) avoidance and peer exclusion and peer rejection, (2) shyness and peer rejection, and (3) unsociability and peer victimization. For adolescents who were average and low in relational aggression, avoidance was positively related to peer rejection, and unsociability was positively related to peer victimization. However, only for boys who were high in relational aggression, avoidance was found to be positively related to peer exclusion, and shyness was positively related to peer rejection. The findings highlight the importance of considering additional individual risk factors in studies of social withdrawal subtypes and point to important differences for young adolescent withdrawn boys and girls.

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