Shy children's understanding of irony: Better comprehension does not always mean better socioemotional functioning
MetadataShow full item record
Childhood shyness is a risk factor for negative socioemotional outcomes including loneliness and depression. Childhood shyness has also been found to relate to various aspects of pragmatic language. For instance, shyer children rate ironic criticisms (i.e., where a speaker's intended meaning is the opposite of what is literally said) as meaner than do less shy children. This study examined whether relations between shyness and socioemotional functioning (i.e., loneliness, depression, and peer experiences) in children (9–12 years old; N = 169) were moderated by irony comprehension ability. Using a series of vignettes and self-report measures, it was found that shyer children with better irony comprehension skill reported increased loneliness and depression symptoms, as well as fewer prosocial experiences with peers. Similarly, for girls, better comprehension strengthened the relationship between shyness and peer victimization. In contrast, for shy boys, better irony comprehension was associated with a reduction in peer victimization. Thus, for certain vulnerable populations, having better sociocommunicative skills may not be advantageous.
Cite this version of the work
Tracy A. Mewhort-Buist, Elizabeth S. Nilsen (2019). Shy children's understanding of irony: Better comprehension does not always mean better socioemotional functioning. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17451