Prospective associations between social status and social anxiety in early adolescence

Lisan A. Henricks*, J. Loes Pouwels, Tessa A.M. Lansu, Wolf Gero Lange, Eni S. Becker, Anke M. Klein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study examined the transactional longitudinal association between social status (likeability and popularity) and social anxiety symptoms (fear of negative evaluation and social avoidance and distress), and explored gender differences in this association. Participants included 274 adolescents (136 boys, Mage = 12.55). Data were collected at two waves with a 6-month interval. Likeability and popularity were measured with peer nominations and social anxiety symptoms with self-reports. Autoregressive cross-lagged path models showed relative stability of social status and social anxiety. Girls who were seen as less popular by their classmates avoided social situations more frequently and experienced more distress during such situations over time. These results highlight the importance of distinguishing between different social status components and social anxiety symptoms and to take gender into account. Early support for less popular girls seems important to prevent more severe consequences of avoidance and distress, such as social exclusion and victimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-480
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • early adolescence
  • gender
  • social anxiety
  • social status
  • Bullying
  • Psychological Distance
  • Humans
  • Peer Group
  • Male
  • Fear
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Longitudinal Studies


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