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Emotional Abuse and Adolescents’ Social Anxiety: the Roles of Self-Esteem and Loneliness

  • Chen Chen
  • Jinliang QinEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

While emotional abuse has effects on social anxiety, little is known about mechanisms of this relationship, particularly in China. To address this gap, this cross-sectional study estimated mediating roles of self-esteem and loneliness in the relationship between emotional abuse and social anxiety in Chinese culture. 569 adolescents and pre-adolescents (aged between 10 and 15 years, M = 11.68, SD = 0.83; 50.62% boys) completed a series of questionnaires inquiring about emotional abuse, social anxiety, loneliness, and self-esteem. Structural equation modeling was used to examine mediating roles of self-esteem and loneliness in the relationship between emotional abuse and social anxiety. The results revealed that emotional abuse was positively associated with social anxiety and loneliness (r = .36, .29, respectively, p < .01), while it was negatively associated with self-esteem (r = − .22, p < .01). Mediational models testing indirect effects through the bootstrapping method revealed that the total effect of emotional abuse on social anxiety was positive and significant; this effect was mediated by self-esteem and loneliness. Findings suggest that loneliness and self-esteem mediates the relationship between emotional abuse and social anxiety. Decreasing loneliness and increasing self-esteem should be applied in interventions to reduce social anxiety of emotionally abused Chinese adolescents and pre-adolescents.

Keywords

Emotional abuse Social anxiety Self-esteem Loneliness Mediating effect 

Notes

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hangzhou College of Childhood Teachers’ EducationZhejiang Normal UniversityHangzhouChina

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