Title

Positive Affect and Adjustment in Shy Toddlers

Poster Number

18B

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Junior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jessica Grady

Faculty Mentor Email

jgrady@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Shy children tend to hide away behind a parent and show fear or anxiety while around new people. Even though shy children want to engage (high approach motivation), they are too anxious to do so (high avoidance motivation). Shy children are at risk for future internalizing problems and poor social outcomes in part because they do not engage with others and fail to develop the proper social skills. The purpose of this study was to identify whether positive affect helps shy children cope with their fearful temperament, and allows them to approach and engage when around new people. I hypothesized that positive affect would be negatively correlated with observed withdrawal and parent-reported internalizing behaviors and positively correlated with observed approach and parent-reported social emotional adjustment. During the study, 50 toddlers who were identified as shy from parent reports, were observed during episodes designed to elicit either withdrawal or approach and one episode designed to elicit positive affect. Children’s behaviors including withdrawal, approach, and positive affect were coded. My hypothesis was not supported however, it is possible that there are factors other than positive affect that help shy toddlers cope with their fear. It could also be that it takes a while for positive affect to emerge as a coping mechanism. At present, findings suggest that in toddlerhood, positive affect does not help shy children to resolve the conflict between high approach and high avoidance motivation.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

28-4-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2018 12:00 PM

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 PM

Positive Affect and Adjustment in Shy Toddlers

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Shy children tend to hide away behind a parent and show fear or anxiety while around new people. Even though shy children want to engage (high approach motivation), they are too anxious to do so (high avoidance motivation). Shy children are at risk for future internalizing problems and poor social outcomes in part because they do not engage with others and fail to develop the proper social skills. The purpose of this study was to identify whether positive affect helps shy children cope with their fearful temperament, and allows them to approach and engage when around new people. I hypothesized that positive affect would be negatively correlated with observed withdrawal and parent-reported internalizing behaviors and positively correlated with observed approach and parent-reported social emotional adjustment. During the study, 50 toddlers who were identified as shy from parent reports, were observed during episodes designed to elicit either withdrawal or approach and one episode designed to elicit positive affect. Children’s behaviors including withdrawal, approach, and positive affect were coded. My hypothesis was not supported however, it is possible that there are factors other than positive affect that help shy toddlers cope with their fear. It could also be that it takes a while for positive affect to emerge as a coping mechanism. At present, findings suggest that in toddlerhood, positive affect does not help shy children to resolve the conflict between high approach and high avoidance motivation.