• DIATHESIS-STRESS OR DIFFERENTIAL SUSCEPTIBILITY? THE MODERATING ROLE OF SHYNESS IN THE RELATIONS AMONG PRAISE AND PUNISHMENT FOR ACHEIVEMENT AND YOUTH ACADEMIC COMPETENCE

      Drabick, Deborah A.; Marshall, Peter J.; Steinberg, Laurence D., 1952-; Gunderson, Elizabeth; Taylor, Ronald D., 1958-; Xie, Hongling (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Low income, urban adolescents are at risk for reduced academic competence and achievement. One feature that may increase risk for decreased scholastic competence and achievement is temperamental shyness. Indeed, adolescents higher in shyness may have more limited social-cognitive and communication skills, and experience greater peer rejection and internalizing symptoms than youth who are less shy. Nevertheless, not all adolescents higher in shyness exhibit decreased academic competence, suggesting that contextual features, such as parent and teacher praise for higher achievement and punishment for lower achievement, may influence these relations. Parent and teacher praise for adolescent academic achievement may help youth higher in shyness to seek academic assistance from peers and teachers and modulate distress in the face of stressors (e.g., academic challenges). Among youth that are shyer, exposure to parent and teacher punishment (e.g., criticizing poor achievement) may provide insufficient encouragement to approach individuals for academic help, impede their confidence to master academic challenges, or increase their risk for internalizing symptoms. Higher shyness may increase vulnerability for impaired academic competence in the context of higher levels of punishment for poor achievement and lower levels of praise for excelling academically, consistent with the diathesis-stress model. However, adolescents that are shy may also benefit more from higher levels of praise and lower levels of punishment for achievement in terms of their academic competence than adolescents lower in shyness, consistent with the differential susceptibility hypothesis. Nevertheless, no research to date has explored this possibility. In the present study, I addressed whether (a) shyness and academic competence predict each other using a cross-lagged model, (b) parent or teacher praise and punishment for level of achievement and shyness concurrently and prospectively predict academic competence, (c) youth shyness moderates the relation between parent and teacher praise and punishment for achievement levels and academic competence, and (d) moderation findings are consistent with the diathesis-stress model or differential susceptibility hypothesis. Participants were 612 youth (54% male, 85% African American). In seventh, eighth, and ninth grades, youth reported on parent and teacher praise and punishment and academic competence, and completed achievement tests. Teachers and parents reported on youth shyness. Teacher-reported shyness was negatively associated with academic competence in each grade, respectively; seventh grade teacher-reported shyness positively predicted eighth grade academic competence. Seventh grade academic competence negatively predicted eighth grade parent- and teacher-reported shyness, and eighth grade academic competence only positively predicted ninth grade teacher-reported shyness. Seventh and eighth grade praise was negatively associated with seventh and eighth grade academic competence, respectively, whereas seventh grade praise positively predicted eighth grade academic competence. Seventh, eighth, and ninth grade punishment was positively associated with academic competence in each grade, whereas seventh and eighth grade punishment negatively predicted ninth grade youth academic competence. None of the parent- or teacher-reported shyness and praise and punishment interactions predicted academic competence. Thus, results were not consistent with either the diathesis-stress model or differential susceptibility hypothesis. These findings highlight the importance of considering multiple informants of shyness and considering parent and teacher behaviors that may influence the academic competence among low income, urban youth.