Why Are Socially Anxious Adolescents Rejected by Peers? The Role of Subject-Group Similarity Characteristics


  • The authors thank Silke Tönnies and Judith Janssen for their valuable contribution to this study.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anke W. Blöte, Leiden University, Institute of Psychology, Unit of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands. E-mail: bloete@fsw.leidenuniv.nl


This study addressed the role of actual and perceived similarity in peer rejection of socially anxious adolescents. Videotapes of 20 high and 20 low socially anxious adolescents (13–17 years old) giving a speech were rated by groups of unfamiliar peers with regard to perceived similarity and desire for future interaction (lower scores indicating rejection). Actual similarity between speakers and observers regarding social anxiety and gender was also taken into account. Findings showed that high socially anxious students were more rejected and that perceived but not actual similarity between peer observers and speakers (partly) mediated rejection.