Academic achievement at the cost of ambition: The mixed results of a supportive, interactive environment on socially anxious teenagers
Social anxiety impacts functional impairment in several life domains; in children, the most notable effect is a decline in academic performance. Socially anxious children report that communicating with peers and teachers, as well as public speaking are their biggest fears in academic settings. Prior research has shown that these children attribute a lack of academic achievement to difficulties communicating interpersonally or publicly. For apprehensive children, many resources are devoted to interventions at the individual level, with little consideration given to their environment - the classroom. The current study examined the association between communication apprehension, social features of the classroom environment, and academic outcomes - current achievement and future ambitions. Three out of four classroom environmental factors (promoting interaction, promoting respect, and teacher support) buffered the negative effects of communication apprehension on current academic achievement. Interestingly, these same factors increased the negative effects of communication apprehension on future academic ambition (intentions to attend college). Implications for the mixed results of a classroom environment that encourages communication are discussed.
Machell, KA; Blalock, DV; Kashdan, TB; Yuen, M
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