Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Malecki, Christine K.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Social phobia in adolescence; Anxiety in adolescence; Teenagers--Social networks


During adolescence, social relationships become increasingly important, as adolescents play a much larger role in the selection of their peers and make more of an effort to develop autonomy from the immediate family structure. Because the development of positive relationships has been linked to a variety of positive and negative outcomes, understanding the factors that may impede the development of these relationships is essential. Social anxiety has been linked to a number of significant impairments in the social functioning of adolescents, and while the literature surrounding social anxiety is vast, little research has examined the direct relationship between social support and social anxiety. Additionally, research extending the idea of discounting theory, or the ability of an individual to preserve self-worth or self-esteem by determining a skill or behavior to be unimportant, to social support is in the early stages. The current study examined the relationship between social support from classmates and close friends and social anxiety in a sample of 377 adolescent students in grades 9 through 12. The results of this study suggest that the frequency of support from classmates is associated with social anxiety and that this relationship may be stronger for girls than for boys. Although the importance of social support was not associated with social anxiety on its own, the importance of support from classmates moderated the relationship between the frequency of social support and social anxiety, with students with low levels of support, but high importance ratings demonstrating the highest levels of social anxiety. In sum, this finding suggests that students who are unable to discount the importance of support are at greater risk for social anxiety. Implications of these findings and how they relate to intervention efforts are discussed.


Advisors: Christine K. Malecki.||Committee members: Michelle K. Demaray; Julia Ogg.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vii, 111 pages




Northern Illinois University

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