Shyness pp 105-115 | Cite as

Adolescent Shyness

  • Jonathan M. Cheek
  • Andrea M. Carpentieri
  • Thomas G. Smith
  • Jill Rierdan
  • Elissa Koff
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


The transition from childhood to adolescence involves many dramatic changes. Adolescents must contend with three major sources of novelty: the bodily changes of puberty, the new cognitive abilities of formal operations, and new demands and opportunities caused by changing social roles and relationships (e.g., Damon, 1983). As Buss (1980) has noted, the most prominent cause of shyness is novelty. Thus, it is not surprising that early adolescence is the time of greatest shyness in the course of personality and social development (Zimbardo, 1977). In this chapter we review research findings and theoretical formulations on adolescent shyness and also present some of our own data. We begin by examining studies on the prevalence of shyness; then we will consider the issues of the stability of shyness, gender differences, and implications for treatment.


Social Anxiety Early Adolescence Eighth Grade Student Wellesley College Early Mature Girl 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Backteman, G., & Magnusson, D. (1981). Longitudinal stability of personality characteristics. Journal of Personality, 49, 148–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, A. T., & Beck, R. W. (1972). Screening depressed patients in family practice: A rapid technique. Postgraduate Medicine, 52, 81–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bem, S. L. (1981). Bem sex-role inventory professional manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  4. Block, J. H., & Block, J. (1980). The role of ego-control and ego-resiliency in the organization of behavior. In W. A. Collins (Ed.), Development of cognition, affect, and social relations (Minnesota Symposium on Child Psychology, Volume 13, pp. 39–101 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Bronson, W. C. (1966). Central orientations: A study of behavior organization from childhood to adolescence. Child Development, 37, 125–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burns, R. B. (1979). The self concept. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  7. Buss, A. H. (1962). Two anxiety factors in psychiatric patients. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 65, 426–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buss, A. H. (1980). Self-consciousness and social anxiety. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  9. Buss, A. H. (1984). A conception of shyness. In J. A. Daly & J. C. McCroskey (Eds.) Avoiding communication ( 39–49 ). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Capuzzi, D, & LeCoq, L. L. (1983). Social and personal determinants of adolescent use and abuse of alcohol and marijuana. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 62, 199–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheek, J. M. (1983). The revised Cheek and Buss Shyness Scale. Unpublished manuscript, Wellesley College.Google Scholar
  12. Cheek, J. M., & Busch, C. M. (1981). The influence of shyness on loneliness in a new situation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 7, 572–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cheek, J. M., & Buss, A. H. (1981). Shyness and sociability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 330–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coie, J. D., & Dodge, K. A. (1983). Continuities and changes in children’s social status: A 5 year longitudinal study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 29, 261–282.Google Scholar
  15. Crozier, R. (1979). Shyness as anxious self-preoccupation. Psychological Reports, 44, 959–962.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Damon, W. (1983). Social and personality development. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  17. Elkind, D. (1978). Understanding the young adolescent. Adolescence, 13, 127–134.Google Scholar
  18. Elkind, D. & Bowen, R. (1979). Imaginary audience behavior in children and adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 15, 38–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fenigstein, A., Scheier, M. F., & Buss, A. H. (1975). Public and private self-consciousness: Assessment and theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 43, 522–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Franco, D. P., Christoff, K. A., Cummins, D. B., & Kelly, J. A. (1983). Social skills training for an extremely shy young adolescent: An empirical case study. Behavior Therapy, 14, 568–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Friedman, P. G. (1980). Shyness and reticence in students. Washington, DC: National EducationGoogle Scholar
  22. Association.Google Scholar
  23. Furnham, A., & Gunter, B. (1983). Sex and personality differences in self-reported social skills among British adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 6, 57–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hartman, L. M. (1983). A metacognitive model of social anxiety: Implications for treatment. Clinical Psychology Review, 3, 435–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hogan, R. (1982). A socioanalytic theory of personality. In M. M. Page & R. A. Dienstbier, ( Eds. )Google Scholar
  26. Nebraska symposium on motivation 1982 (55–89). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hogan, R., Jones, W. H., & Cheek, J. M. (1985). Socioanalytic theory: An alternative to armadilloGoogle Scholar
  28. psychology. In B. Schlenker, (Ed.) The self and social life. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  29. Klopf, D. W. (1984). Cross-cultural apprehension research: A summary of Pacific Basin studies. InGoogle Scholar
  30. J. A. Daly & J. C. McCroskey (Eds.) Avoiding communication (157–169). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Lazarus, P. J. (1982a). Incidence of shyness in elementary-school age children. Psychological Reports, 51, 904–906.Google Scholar
  31. Lazarus, P. J. (1982b). Correlations of shyness and self-esteem for elementary school children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 55, 8–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leary, M. R. (1983) Understanding social anxiety: social, personality, and clinical perspectives. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Macfarlane, J. W., Allen, L., & Honzik, M. D. (1954). A developmental study of the behavior problems of normal children between 21 months and 14 years. University of California studies in child development, 2, 1–221.Google Scholar
  34. Mervis, J. (1984). Adolescent behavior: What we think we know. APA Monitor, 15 (4), 24–25.Google Scholar
  35. Petersen, A. C. (1981). The development of self-concept in adolescence. In M. D. Lynch, A. A.Google Scholar
  36. Norem-Hebeisen, K. J. Gergen (Eds.). Self-concept: Advances in theory and research (191–202). Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  37. Porteus, M. A. (1979). Survey of the problems of normal 15 year olds. Journal of Adolescence, 2, 307323.Google Scholar
  38. Reid, J. B. (1983). A description and theory of shyness. [Review of The shy child. Contemporary Psychology, 27, 809–810.Google Scholar
  39. Richmond, V. P. (1984). Implications of quietness: Some facts and speculations. In J. A. Daly & J. C. McCroskey, (Eds.) Avoiding communication ( 145–155 ). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Rosenberg, M. (1979). Conceiving the self. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  41. Sarason, B. R. (1981). The dimensions of social competence: Contributions from a variety of research areas. In J. D. Wine & M. D. Smye, (Eds.) Social competence ( 100–122 ). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  42. Schalling, D. S. (1975). Types of anxiety and types of stressors as related to personality. In C. D. Speilberger & I. G. Sarason, (Eds). Stress and anxiety ( 279–283 ). Washington, DC: Hemisphere Corporation.Google Scholar
  43. Simmons, R. G., & Rosenberg, F. (1975). Sex, sex roles, and self-image. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 4, 229–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simmons, R., Rosenberg, R., & Rosenberg, M. (1973). Disturbance in the self-image at adolescence. American Sociological Review, 38, 553–568.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Traub, G. S. (1983). Correlations of shyness with depression, anxiety, and academic performance. Psychological Reports, 52, 849–850.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Trower, P. (1978). Skills training for adolescent social problems: A viable treatment alternative? Journal of Adolescence, 1, 319–329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zimbardo, P. G. (1977). Shyness: What it is, what to do about it. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Zimbardo, P. G., & Radl, S. (1981). The shy child. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  48. Zimbardo, P. G., Pilkonis, P., & Norwood, R. (1975). The social disease called shyness. Psychology Today, 8, 69–72.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan M. Cheek
    • 1
  • Andrea M. Carpentieri
    • 2
  • Thomas G. Smith
    • 3
  • Jill Rierdan
    • 1
  • Elissa Koff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Late of the Department of Behavioral StatisticsBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

Personalised recommendations