Predicting Effect of Anxiety Symptoms on Self-Concept and Peer Relationships in Preadolescent Children
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental disorders of adults. A certain percentage of patients with anxiety disorder manifested anxiety-related symptoms before adolescence. The aims of this research were to investigate the effects of anxiety symptoms on self-concepts and peer relationships of preadolescent children by two-waves data. Participants, 175 elementary school students of the 5th and the 6th grades, were asked to fill out a series of questionnaire twice in a two-month interval to collect data about their anxiety symptoms, self-concepts, and peer relationships. The first batch of questionnaire data were grouped by anxiety indicators. Specific anxiety indicators were used as the predictors to analyze the relationships between anxiety and self-concept as well as anxiety and peer relationship by regression analysis. Results showed that children with high-anxiety symptoms had lower self-concepts in domains of school, physical, and emotion. They also had higher level of negative peer relationships. Anxiety symptoms happened in the beginning of semester could effectively predict children’s self-concepts and peer relationships during the semester. The predictive effects varied with anxiety symptoms, self-concepts, and peer relationships. Social anxiety significant predict school, physical, appearance, emotion self-concepts, and negative peer relationship. Physical symptoms had negative effect on school, physical, emotion, and positive peer relationships, however, harm avoidance had positive impact on self-concept and positive relationships. Preadolescent children’s anxiety symptoms could well predict the development of self-concept and peer relationships in their growth. Our findings also supported that detecting and assisting children in coping with his/her anxiety symptoms, especially the physical symptoms and social anxiety, might be helpful on his/her self-development and positive peer relationships.