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Socialization of Social Anxiety in Adolescent Crowds

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Abstract

In this study, we looked at whether social anxiety is socialized, or influenced by peers’ social anxiety, more in some peer crowds than others. Adolescents in crowds with eye-catching appearances such as Goths and Punks (here termed Radical), were compared with three comparison groups. Using data from 796 adolescents (353 girls and 443 boys; M age  = 13.36) at three timepoints, the results show that adolescents affiliating with the Radical crowd tended to select peers from the same crowd group. Being a member of a crowd in itself did not predict socialization of social anxiety, but adolescents in the Radical crowd were more influenced by their peers’ social anxiety than adolescents who did not affiliate with the Radical crowd group. The results suggest that through a bidirectional process, adolescents affiliating with Radical crowds may narrow their peer relationship ties in time, and in turn socialize each other’s social anxiety.

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Correspondence to Nejra Van Zalk.

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Van Zalk, N., Van Zalk, M.H.W. & Kerr, M. Socialization of Social Anxiety in Adolescent Crowds. J Abnorm Child Psychol 39, 1239–1249 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9533-3

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