Low Self-Esteem Makes Teens More Shy

Teens who think little of themselves tend to shy away from interactions with peers, according to a recent study. Their uncertainty and subsequent withdrawal then draws negative feedback from other students, prompting even more withdrawal and leaving them with few chances to have close friends and as targets for teasing or bullying.

The study looked closely at three time periods in the lives of some 600 fifth- and sixth-graders in a Midwest school district, particularly at how the youth and their peer groups mutually influenced each other.

These findings demonstrate important implications for understanding how both youth and their social worlds influence the course of children's relationships, researchers said. Intervening in these downward spirals and improving youths' relationships will require both helping youth to change their perceptions of their social abilities and worth, as well as helping schools to change the peer environments that permit social isolation, peer conflict and victimization.

">EurekAlert July 26, 2004

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