Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 825–836 | Cite as

Relations between Shyness-Sensitivity and Internalizing Problems in Chinese Children: Moderating Effects of Academic Achievement

  • Xinyin ChenEmail author
  • Fan Yang
  • Li WangEmail author


Shy-sensitive children are likely to develop adjustment problems in today’s urban China as the country has evolved into an increasingly competitive, market-oriented society. The main purpose of this one-year longitudinal study was to examine the moderating effects of academic achievement on relations between shyness-sensitivity and later internalizing problems in Chinese children. A sample of 1171 school-age children (591 boys, 580 girls) in China, initially at the age of 9 years, participated in the study. Data on shyness, academic achievement, and internalizing problems were collected from multiple sources including peer evaluations, teacher ratings, self-reports, and school records. It was found that shyness positively and uniquely predicted later loneliness, depression, and teacher-rated internalizing problems, with the stability effect controlled, for low-achieving children, but not for high-achieving children. The results indicate that, consistent with the stress buffering model, academic achievement may be a buffering factor that serves to protect shy-sensitive children from developing psychological problems.


Shyness Internalizing problems Academic achievement Chinese children 



The study was supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and National Natural Science Foundation of China (#31271103). We are grateful to the children and teachers for their participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaUSA
  2. 2.Peking UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Applied Psychology-Human Development DivisionGraduate School of Education, University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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