Peer liking, physical attractiveness, and anxiety disorders in children

Melissa E. Barrow, Jessica R. Baker, Jennifer L. Hudson

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    This experiment examined peer-liking of anxious children, with particular emphasis on children with Social Phobia. Using a zero acquaintance paradigm, peer-raters randomly viewed video footage of 81 children, 21 with an anxiety disorder and 60 with no anxiety disorder, delivering a brief speech. Age and gender matched peer-raters completed measures assessing perceived liking, anxiety, speech performance, and peer attributes (including friendship attributes, physical characteristics, popularity, and social power). Peer observed anxiety negatively predicted peer liking. Anxiety disordered children, specifically children with Social Phobia, were found to be less liked and judged more harshly in relation to physical attractiveness than non-anxious children. Perceived physical attractiveness accounted for a significant degree of variance in peer liking; observed anxiety and the presence of an anxiety disorder were no longer significant determinants of liking once physical attractiveness was considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)601-614
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of experimental psychopathology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Anxiety disorders
    • Social Phobia
    • child anxiety
    • friendship
    • peer liking


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