The following is excerpted from an online article posted by PsyPost.
A study examining best-friend pairs of young adolescents discovered that shy individuals, especially those whose best friend was also shy, exhibited more depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the research revealed that self-silencing acts as a mediator between shyness and symptoms of anxiety. The findings were published in Personality and Individual Differences.
Shyness is a personality trait characterized by feelings of apprehension, discomfort, or nervousness in social situations or when interacting with unfamiliar people. Individuals who are shy often experience heightened self-consciousness and may have difficulty initiating or maintaining conversations. During childhood and adolescence, shyness is one of the most important components of indicators of psychopathology (such as depressive or anxiety symptoms or loneliness).
Participants of the study were 178 adolescents organized into 89 same-sex bestfriend pairs. They were 14 years old on average. Participants completed assessments of shyness (the Revised Cheek and Buss Shyness Scale), self-silencing (the Expressing My Thoughts and Feelings Measure), loneliness (the Loneliness and Social Dissatisfaction Questionnaire), depressive symptoms and anxiety (descriptive items e.g., “I cry a lot” or “I am nervous or tense”), and friend support (the Network of Relationships Inventory).
The results indicated that shy participants were more inclined to self-silence, felt lonelier, and reported increased depressive and anxiety symptoms. There was no discernible link between perceived friend support and shyness. Those who often self-silenced felt more isolated and perceived diminished friend support.
“Findings suggest that friend shyness may foster depressive symptoms in highly shy youth, and that the tendency for shy youth, and to some extent, their friends, to self-silence may hurt the relationship, but help the self (at least in the short-term and in terms of anxiety),” the study authors concluded.