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Title: Patterns of shyness in East-Asian and European heritage students
Authors: Paulhus, Delroy L.
Duncan, Jacqueline H.
Yik, Michelle
Keywords: Shyness
East-Asian heritage students
European heritage students
Cross-cultural differences
Cross-cultural similarities
Issue Date: Dec-2001
Citation: Journal of research in personality, v. 36, no. 5, Oct. 2002, p. 442-462
Abstract: Reviews of the self-report literature suggest that shyness is more prevalent among East Asians than among those of European heritage (e.g., Zimbardo, 1977). We evaluated the generality of that claim in North American immigrants using four studies of students of Asian-heritage (AH) and European-heritage (EH). In Study 1, a large student sample (N = 897) revealed a substantially higher rate of self-reported shyness among AH students (68%) than among EH students (44%). In Study 2 (N = 285), the ethnic difference in self-reported shyness was substantially higher for classroom than for social situations. The most commonly-reported reason for classroom non-participation was 'fear of being wrong' for AHs and 'fear of being judged' for EHs. In Study 3 (N = 188), the ethnic difference was strong for cross-group socializing but nil for same-group socializing. In Study 4, a behavioral index -- classroom participation – was recorded and coded. The observed ethnic difference in participation rate had a medium effect size and was comparable to that observed on the self-report differences in classroom shyness. There was no ethnic difference, however, in the mean complexity and challengingness of the classroom participations or in final course grades. We conclude that the ethnic difference is minimal for within-group socializing but maximal for classroom participation because the latter combines several key precipitating factors for Asian shyness.
Rights: Journal of Research in Personality © 2002 Elsevier. The Journal's website is located at
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