Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 115-123

First online:

A Multimethod Exploration of the Friendships of Children Considered Socially Withdrawn by Their School Peers

  • Barry H. SchneiderAffiliated withUniversity of TorontoUniversity of Ottawa Email author 

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Friendships of children considered socially withdrawn by their school peers were investigated within a population of elementary school children. Reciprocal friends were identified by a friendship nomination procedure; social withdrawal was assessed by peer nominations. Trained graduate students rated videotapes of dyads of friends (n = 58 dyads, of which 29 contained at least one withdrawn child) for selected features of friendship quality. In addition, each friend within a dyad provided ratings of the quality of the relationship. The videotaped data showed the withdrawn children to be somewhat restricted in their verbal communication with their friends, and less competitive with their friends, than were friends in a comparison group. In dyads consisting of one withdrawn and one nonwithdrawn child, the withdrawn child perceived the relationship as characterized by greater closeness and helpfulness than did the nonwithdrawn friend. Despite some signs of inhibited behavior within the friendship context, withdrawn children seem to have access to close friendships of high quality.

Timidity social isolation friendship children