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Early childhood shyness may lead to teen anxiety



Well-known member
Mar 23, 2009
Emotional and behavioral problems such as shyness during early childhood may lead to a teenage anxiety disorder, a new research has found.

A longitudinal study revealed that the quality of parent-infant relationship could play a vital role in the appearance of social anxiety in adolescence.

The study was carried out by the researchers at the US University of Maryland in collaboration with researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Canadian University of Waterloo.

The research team analyzed the behavior of 165 European-American, middle- to upper-middle-class adolescents aged 14-17 years.

The participants were recruited when they were infants, at four months, according to the report which appeared in Child Development, the journal of the Society for Research in Child Development.

The investigators observed the infants at the age of 14 months, with their parents in the laboratory, to monitor the babies’ response to brief separations from their parents.

“Securely attached infants initiated contact with their parents after separation and, if they had been upset, they could calm down when their parents returned,” the observation showed.

The study also found that two patterns were seen in insecurely attached children. Some of them refused to have contact with their parents after being separated while the others needed to have physical contact with their parents but were angry and unable to calm down when their parents returned.

The investigators at the latest stage of their research, when the children were 14 to 17 years old, asked participants and their parents to complete questionnaires about the adolescents' anxiety.

The results indicated that children who were insecurely attached to their parents and who were inhibited throughout their childhoods showed higher levels of anxiety as adolescents, specifically social anxiety.

"Our study suggests that it is the combination of both early risk factors that predicts anxiety in adolescence, particularly social anxiety," said Erin Lewis-Morrarty, research associate at the University of Maryland.

PressTV - Early childhood shyness may lead to teen anxiety


Well-known member
Oct 21, 2014
school is supposed to socialise kids but with so much bullying going on I don't think a lot of poor kids get
positive experience of being with other kids. If you do have an insecure parental bond the bullies pick them off one by one. we need smaller schools with less sill lessons and a better bond between teacher and student.


Well-known member
Aug 17, 2012
The West Country
I can't quite understand why it's talking about attachment?
I was very secure in my attachment. I was probably one of the only children at play school that didn't cry when their Mum left them in the morning.. probably because I was very confident with children my own age.
My shyness around adults was terrible though, to the point where I often looked to my Mum to "rescue me" from a conversation so that I didn't have to talk.

So yeah, am not sure where I fit into the attachment/shyness thingy, but it definitely makes sense to me that a shyer child is probably more likely to be anxious as a teen.


New member
Dec 22, 2014
I lived my childhood in northern Finland a small town where in our local street almost everyone knew my father. He has alcoholic problems and other adults and children did not like us because of my father. I also afraid of him. It is logic that I became a shy boy who was unsure about other people and didn't trust anyone.
Nowadays I am still shy and suffer about anxiety.

I agree with that new research :

"The results indicated that children who were insecurely attached to their parents and who were inhibited throughout their childhoods showed higher levels of anxiety as adolescents, specifically social anxiety." ::

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