Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Tracy L. Morris.


The primary objective of the present study was to examine associations among several family relationships and adolescent social anxiety utilizing a family systems perspective. The second objective was to investigate specific family relationships and their association with adolescent adjustment outcomes such as depression, general anxiety, global self-worth, and social acceptance self-worth. Social anxiety levels of only children and children with siblings also were compared. Five-hundred and fifteen (337 females, 178 males) participants in late adolescence completed a questionnaire packet according to whether or not they had siblings. The questionnaire packets contained all or most of the following measures depending on number of siblings: (1) a demographic questionnaire; (2) the Parental Bonding Instrument (Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979); (3) the Network of Relationships Inventory (Furman & Buhrmester, 1985); (4) the Inventory of Family Experiences (Barrett Singer & Weinstein, 1986); (5) the Beck Anxiety Inventory (Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988); (6) the Beck Depression Inventory - II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996); (7) the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (Turner, Beidel, Dancu, & Stanley, 1989); and (8) the Self-Perception Profile for College Students (Neeman & Harter, 1986). Results showed that perceived optimal maternal parenting (high care/low control) and perceived optimal parenting by both parents were related to low levels of social anxiety, depression, and general anxiety and high levels of global and social acceptance self-worth. Perceptions of positive sibling relationships (high social support/low negativity) were associated with low levels of social anxiety and depression and high levels of global and social acceptance self-worth. Furthermore, better adjustment outcomes were reported by adolescents who reported no parental favoritism than for adolescents who reported that they were favored by one parent and unfavored by the other parent or that they were unfavored by both. In addition, favored adolescents reported better adjustment outcomes than unfavored adolescents No differences were found in social anxiety levels between only children and children with siblings. Furthermore, no gender differences were found in relation to family relationships and late adolescent adjustment.