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Shyness in late childhood: relations with attributional styles and self-esteem


Siu Mui Chan, Department of Psychological Studies, Hong Kong Institute of Education, D2-2/F-24, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, Hong Kong, China, E-mail:


Background  Shyness in late childhood is related to social and psychological problems. The present study examined the relations among shyness, attributional styles and self-esteem. It was hypothesized that self-esteem mediated the effects of attributional styles on shyness.

Methods  Self-reported data on degree of shyness, attributional styles and self-esteem were obtained from 326 Chinese children with mean age of 10.85 years.

Results  It was found that positive attributional styles predicted shyness in the negative direction and the effects were fully mediated by self-esteem, and negative attributional styles predicted shyness in the positive direction both directly and through self-esteem.

Conclusion  The results imply that how children attribute positive and negative outcomes affect both self-esteem and shyness. It is suggested that practitioners should conduct attribution-retraining workshops for shy children and help teachers and parents learn how to mitigate negative attributional style and foster positive attributional styles in children.