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Relations over Time among Children's Shyness, Emotionality, and Internalizing Problems


  • This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health (1 R01 HH55052 and 1 R01 MH 60838) to Nancy Eisenberg, Richard A. Fabes, Tracy Spinrad, and Mark Reiser, as well as a Research Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (K05 M801321) awarded to Nancy Eisenberg. We thank our undergraduate and graduate research assistants for their contributions to this study. We also thank the children, parents, principals, and teachers involved in the study.

Natalie D. Eggum, School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701, USA. Email:


Data regarding children's shyness and emotionality were collected at three time points, two years apart (T1: N = 214, M = 6.12 years; T2: N = 185, M = 7.67 years; T3: N = 185, M = 9.70 years), and internalizing data were collected at T1 and T3. Relations among parent-rated shyness, emotionality [parent- and teacher-rated anger, sadness, and positive emotional intensity (EI)], and mother-rated internalizing were examined in panel models. In some cases, shyness predicted emotionality two years later (teacher-rated anger, parent-rated sadness, and teacher-rated positive EI) and emotionality sometimes predicted shyness two years later (teacher-rated sadness, parent-rated positive EI, and teacher-rated positive EI). Parent-rated shyness and/or emotionality (parent-rated anger and parent-rated sadness) predicted internalizing at T3. Results shed light on developmental relations between emotionality and shyness, as well as processes of risk for, or protection against, the development of internalizing problems.