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Shyness and Self-Concept

  • Jonathan M. Cheek
  • Lisa A. Melchior
  • Andrea M. Carpentieri
Part of the Advances in the Study of Communication and Affect book series (ASCA, volume 11)

Abstract

Shyness is a major adjustment problem in the psychopathology of everyday life. Surveys reveal that about 40% of Americans consider themselves to be shy, and that over 80% of these people do not like being shy (Pilkonis, 1977a; Zimbardo, 1977). Psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp (1976) has observed that “neurotic shyness constitutes a significant portion of the burden of needless suffering borne by the men and women who seek my help” (p. 28). Recently, research psychologists have begun to direct a great deal of attention to the study of shyness (e.g., Buss, 1980; Jones, Cheek, & Briggs, 1986; Leary, 1983). The purpose of this chapter is to present this research in a framework that is organized in terms of the shy person’s self-concept. After defining shyness, we begin by considering a structural model of dimensions of self-esteem. Next, we examine the dynamics of shyness as revealed in self-concept processes, such as attributions, memories, and the focus of attention. Then we consider shyness from the perspective of self-presentation theory. Finally, we discuss the degree of accuracy found in comparisons of shy people’s self-perceptions with ratings made by observers.

Keywords

Social Skill Social Anxiety Causal Attribution Social Avoidance Wellesley College 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan M. Cheek
    • 1
  • Lisa A. Melchior
    • 2
  • Andrea M. Carpentieri
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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