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73. Shyness, Time Spent Alone, and Internalizing Problems during Emerging Adulthood
Individuals who are shy, or withdraw due to fear and anxiety, are at-risk for psychological difficulties during adolescence (Goodwin et al., 2004). Emerging adulthood has also recently been identified as a transition period that may be particularly challenging for shy individuals (Bowker et al., 2014). Shy individuals desire to be with others but are oftentimes unable to overcome their anxiety to approach others, resulting in greater time alone. Evidence suggests individuals who spend too few or too many hours alone have poorer adjustment than their peers (Larson, 1997). However, no studies have examined whether the association between shyness and psychological symptoms varies by the amount of time spent alone during emerging adulthood. This study addresses this gap using ecological momentary sampling of hours spent alone in 415 young adults (ages 18 – 25). Preliminary analyses indicate shyness is associated with depressive symptoms (p < .001) and this association is moderated by time alone (p < .05). Shy emerging adults who spend more time alone report greater depressive symptoms than those who spend less time alone. Additional analyses will be conducted but these findings suggest that large amounts of time alone may be a risk factor for depression in shy emerging adults.