Social Skills among Socially Anxious Children in Iceland
Hannesdottir, Dagmar Kristin
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The primary purpose of this study was to examine the nature of social skills in socially anxious children from a social learning theory perspective. The reasons why socially anxious children often perform poorly in social situations have not yet been fully resolved. Is it due to lack of social skills or are these children too inhibited and nervous in social situations to exhibit the skills they possess? Ninety-two elementary and middle school children (age 10-14 years) in Kopavogur, Iceland participated in the study and completed questionnaires on social phobia and anxiety, social skills, assertiveness, and self-efficacy and outcome expectancy in social situations with friends and strangers. Based on how socially anxious they reported to be on the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory for Children (SPAI-C), 59 children were selected for further study. Results showed that socially anxious children reported being less socially skilled, less assertive with strangers than with friends, and lower in self-efficacy and outcome expectancy than children in a normal comparison group. However, the socially anxious children were not rated as less skilled by parents or teachers than the other children. Implications for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with social anxiety are discussed.
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