Friendless kids can become social outcasts who risk spiraling into depression by adolescence, according to new research. Yet for most shy and withdrawn children, the study reports in the journal Development and Psychopathology, friends can be a form of protection against sadness.
A total of 130 girls and 101 boys in the third through fifth school grades, took part in the three-year study. Participants were asked to rate whether they felt shy or preferred solitude. The research team also found that peers typically excluded children with poor social skills, who were perceived as overly aggressive or immature.