Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Tracy L. Morris

Committee Co-Chair

Elisa Krackow

Committee Member

Michael Perone

Committee Member

Carrie Rishel

Committee Member

Natalie Shook


Social anxiety has been shown to negatively impact friendship quality across the lifespan, leading to relationships that are less intimate and emotionally supportive. In turn, lower friendship quality and lack of social support have been linked to increased risk for isolation and depression. Early adolescence is a period of transition when the basis of friendship shifts from the ability to be a good play partner to the ability to engage in more complex interpersonal skills such as self-disclosure, provision of emotional support, and assertiveness. The early adolescent period is also a time when levels of social anxiety increase as children become more aware of how they are perceived by peers. Therefore, socially anxious children, who often possess social skills deficits, may be at increased risk for problems with friendship during this time period. Limited research has looked at possible associations between social anxiety and the interpersonal skills used in friendships during the early adolescent period. In addition, parenting, both before and during early adolescence, has been linked to children's levels of anxiety and interpersonal skill. However, most research concerning parenting and child anxiety has focused on anxiety in general, rather than social anxiety specifically. Further, most work has focused solely on the influence of mothers. The purpose of the current study was to address gaps in the literature concerning the influence of both maternal and paternal parenting on social anxiety, interpersonal skill, and friendship quality in a sample of early adolescent girls. Family triads (N = 67) including male and female caregivers and a daughter between the ages of 12 and 14 completed questionnaires regarding parental autonomy-granting and communication. Adolescents completed measures of parental psychological control, social anxiety, interpersonal skill, and friendship quality. Maternal psychological control was positively associated with adolescent social anxiety and negatively associated with adolescent interpersonal skill and friendship quality. Maternal communication was negatively associated with adolescent social anxiety and positively associated with adolescent interpersonal skill and friendship quality. No significant associations were found between paternal variables and adolescent outcomes. As expected, a strong negative association was found between adolescent social anxiety and adolescent interpersonal skill. Adolescent interpersonal skill also showed a positive association with adolescent friendship quality. Limitations of the current research as well as implications and future directions are discussed.