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Keywords:

  • shyness;
  • reticence;
  • vocabulary test scores;
  • behaviour in school;
  • cross-cultural studies

Abstract

The aims of the present study are to examine whether preschool children's scores on a standardized test of vocabulary mediate or moderate the relation between shyness and reticence and to test whether any influence of vocabulary would be found for both teacher and parent assessments of shyness. Participants were 108 children (50 males), mean age, 63.96 months, attending preschool in Saudi Arabia. Teachers selected shy and non-shy children and both teachers and parents rated the children on a shyness checklist. Children completed a test of receptive vocabulary. Systematic observations of verbal behaviour were made in ‘show and tell’ and play sessions. Shyness scores were negatively correlated with vocabulary test scores. Shy children were more reticent during ‘show and tell’ and play. Vocabulary test scores did not moderate relations between teacher-assessed or parent-assessed shyness and reticence. Vocabulary test scores did not mediate the relation between teacher-assessed shyness and reticence but there was partial mediation in analyses involving parents' assessments. The variation in findings between different informants is discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.