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Subtypes of Social Withdrawal in Early Childhood: Sociometric Status and Social-Cognitive Differences across Four Years

Amanda W. Harrist, Anthony F. Zaia, John E. Bates, Kenneth A. Dodge and Gregory S. Pettit
Child Development
Vol. 68, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 278-294
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131850
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131850
Page Count: 17
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Subtypes of Social Withdrawal in Early Childhood: Sociometric Status and Social-Cognitive Differences across Four Years
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Abstract

From a sample of 567 kindergartners observed during free play, 150 children were classified as socially withdrawn and followed over 4 years. A cluster analysis involving teacher ratings was used to identify subtypes of withdrawn children. Four clusters were identified, 3 fitting profiles found in the literature and labeled unsociable (n = 96), passive-anxious (n = 23), and active-isolate (n = 19), and 1 typically not discussed, labeled sad / depressed (n = 12). Sociometric ratings indicated that unsociable children had elevated rates of sociometric neglect, active-isolates had higher than expected levels of rejection, and sad / depressed children had elevated rates of both neglect and rejection. Subtypes also differed in social information-processing patterns, with active-isolate children displaying the least competent skills. The findings that some subtypes experience more difficulty than others might account for the ambiguity in extant studies regarding whether or not social withdrawal is a risk factor in psychosocial development, because withdrawal has most often been treated as a unitary construct in the past.

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