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Unsociability in Middle Childhood: Conceptualization, Assessment, and Associations with Socioemotional Functioning

Robert J. Coplan and Murray Weeks
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
Vol. 56, No. 2 (April 2010), pp. 105-130
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23098037
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Unsociability in Middle Childhood: Conceptualization, Assessment, and Associations with Socioemotional Functioning
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Abstract

The goal of this study was to explore the socioemotional adjustment of unsociable (versus shy) children in middle childhood. The participants in this study were 186 children aged 6–8 years (Mage = 7.59 years, SD =.31). Multisource assessment was employed, including maternal ratings, teacher ratings, and individual child interviews. Results provided some of the first evidence to suggest that unsociability can be distinguished from shyness in middle childhood. Shy children evidenced more internalizing problems, peer difficulties, and loneliness as compared to unsociable and nonwithdrawn comparison children. In contrast, aside from a greater tendency to play alone, unsociable children did not differ from nonwithdrawn comparison peers. However, a gender difference emerged, with unsociable boys appearing to be more prone to experiencing difficulties with peers. Results are discussed in terms of the assessment, meaning, and implications of different forms of social withdrawal in middle childhood.

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