Moving Away From the World: Life-Course Patterns of Shy Children
What are the life-course sequelae of childhood shyness? Using archival data from the Berkeley Guidance Study (Macfarlane, Allen, & Honzik, 1954), we identified individuals who were shy and reserved in late childhood and traced the continuities and consequences of this behavioral style across the subsequent 30 years of their lives. Shy boys were more likely than their peers to delay entry into marriage, parenthood, and stable careers; to attain less occupational achievement and stability; and-when late in establishing stable careers-to experience marital instability. Shy girls were more likely than their peers to follow a conventional pattern of marriage, childbearing, and homemaking. Results are compared with those from our parallel study of childhood ill-temperedness (Caspi, Elder, & Bem, 1987). Despite differences between shyness ("moving away from the world") and ill-temperedness ("moving against the world"), both persist across the life course through the progressive accumulation of their own consequences (cumulative continuity) and by their tendency to evoke maintaining responses from others during reciprocal social interaction (interactional continuity).
Caspi, A; Elder, GH; Bem, DJ
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