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23-03-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2020

Socially Anxious Science Achievers: The Roles of Peer Social Support and Social Engagement in the Relation Between Adolescents’ Social Anxiety and Science Achievement

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2020
Auteurs:
Christina L. Scanlon, Juan Del Toro, Ming-Te Wang
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Abstract

Socially anxious youth are at an increased risk for academic underachievement, withdrawal from school, and negative peer relationships. Given that learning tasks in science classes rely heavily on peer collaboration and social skills, this study aimed to investigate the link between high-school adolescents’ social anxiety and their science achievement while also determining whether and how peer social support and social engagement mediated the relation. Data was collected from 805 high-school students (48.7% female; 30.9% in 9th, 24.0% in 10th, 25.3% in 11th, 19.8% in 12th grade; 51.2% White, 29.8% Black, 11.4% Biracial, 7.6% Other). The results showed that socially anxious adolescents were more likely to report lower social engagement, which in turn predicted lower science performance. In addition, adolescents with social anxiety tended to experience less peer social support, which led to lower social engagement and subsequent lower science performance. These findings have important implications for guiding teaching practice and school-based interventions that support socially anxious adolescents in learning tasks.

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