While there has been research published on social withdrawal during childhood, little work has been done on the effects of social withdrawal during emerging adulthood. Since emerging adulthood is a time of transition and initiation to new environments and social contexts, it would be expected to be a time of great anxiety for individuals predisposed to social withdrawal (shyness). Shyer emerging adults are at risk for internalizing behaviors, lowered self-concept, and delayed entry into romantic relationships, therefore, they may also be more challenged when it comes to enacting prosocial behaviors. In addition, the inability to self-regulate emotions may mediate this relationship. This study utilized a sample of 774 college students (538 women, 236 men; 79% Caucasian; M = 20 years old) to test these hypotheses. Results showed that emerging adults who were more socially withdrawn were less likely to exhibit prosocial behaviors toward strangers, friends, and family members. In addition, results showed that the inability to self-regulate emotions, or cope, mediated this relationship in all cases. Implications include the salience of emotional self-regulation as a prerequisite to prosocial behavior directed toward multiple others and the possibly detrimental influence of shyness on relationship and community involvement during emerging adulthood.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage, Family, and Human Development
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Fraser, Ashley Michelle, "I Just Can't Do It! The Effects of Social Withdrawal on Prosocial Behavior" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 3572.
prosocial behavior, social withdrawal, emotion regulation