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The association of internet access with higher mental wellbeing scores is also relevant to public policy in Scotland, where the government has included the improvement of mental wellbeing scores on the WEMWBS scale used here as part of its national performance framework [ 73 ]. The wellbeing advantages of internet access were not countered in our study by physical activity disadvantages that have been identified elsewhere [ 34 , 35 ].

Although one might reasonably expect that internet use outside the home would be associated with a certain level of physical activity, we also found a similar positive association with all means of internet use, and a negative association with sedentary behaviour. This suggests that conventional notions of what internet use or users are like may not apply to people living in deprived areas, not least because internet use is less often combined with car ownership in such places, with half the households in deprived areas in Scotland having no access to a car [ 75 ].

Across the range of outcomes examined, there were several positive associations with internet access for older people in particular, relating to social contact, use of amenities and health and wellbeing. The idea that internet access might assist older people with maintaining or renewing contact with friends is entirely plausible given that contacts can become distanced over time and people often seek to reconnect with old-friends later in life. Hence, it is concerning that we also found a large age-related digital divide, with the number of adults in deprived communities accessing the internet halving from middle age to retirement age.

Overcoming such a divide for older people is likely to involve issues of digital literacy, technological competence and self-efficacy, and network access and associated costs [ 14 , 77 , 78 ]. The predominant means of accessing the internet other than by using a mobile phone is via a home computer; what is more, extending broadband access at home is a policy priority in the UK and Scotland.

Although cost is the most likely cause of lower internet access among those living in deprived areas, the issue of choices made by those on lower incomes is also relevant. Research on poverty and social exclusion in the UK has identified internet access as one of the few items from a list of 76 that was not considered a necessity by most people, indeed even less so by respondents in Scotland than in the rest of the UK [ 79 ].

We also found inequalities in internet access within the deprived communities according to most of the dimensions we examined. There were particularly low rates of internet access by those who were older, retired, lacking educational qualifications, and with a long-standing illness or disability, and relatively high rates of home internet use by those with children, those in work or full-time education and non-British citizens.

These patterns are similar to those reported previously in a study of deprived areas of London [ 47 ], with our finding for non-British citizens echoing the earlier finding that internet access was higher among more recent migrants, perhaps due to the need to keep in contact with relatives abroad in the earlier stages of migration and settlement.

While there has been a large investment programme in social housing over the past decade and a half to bring the housing stock up to the new Scottish Housing Quality Standard SHQS , introduced in and revised by new guidance in , advances in internet access still seem piecemeal. Whilst the revised SHQS guidance raised thermal insulation standards for reasons of comfort and related to wider government objectives around energy efficiency, the stipulations regarding home facilities and services remained framed around issues of health and safety, without any improvements to reflect qualify of life issues such as internet access [ 81 ].

However, a recent survey of disadvantaged citizens in Scotland found that the most important barriers to internet use concerned network costs [ 83 ]. The main strength of our study is the large sample of people from deprived communities, four times the size of a recent previous study of the same type of place [ 47 ].

Our results are based on a large number of comparisons and there is therefore potential for Type I errors. We also discuss our results in the context of existing evidence and identify where these are similar or differ. We believe the social integration results of this study are generalizable to other deprived communities in the UK, however the health and wellbeing results may not be reflected to the same extent elsewhere due to the relatively poor health of the population of Glasgow [ 84 ]. We have also controlled for many of the other factors that may have a strong effect upon wellbeing, including education, employment and long-standing illness.

However, the cross-sectional nature of the data means that associations between internet access and wellbeing could run in either direction, although previous longitudinal research would support the notion that internet access is beneficial for social contact and wellbeing [ 62 ]. Although we allowed respondents to identify multiple ways in which they accessed the internet, we did not collect information on the duration or purpose of their internet use; these are important issues where further details for internet users in deprived communities would help us understand how and why the internet might be beneficial or not to those with fewer resources to spend on other forms of social interaction and activity.

In the debate about the advantages and disadvantages of internet use, we have found a number of positive associations within deprived communities between internet access by adults and social integration and wellbeing outcomes and, further, we did not find any negative associations with internet access. Some of the associations were particularly evident for older people. The question of what the appropriate policy response might be is not one we can completely answer. Some of our findings suggest that social and wellbeing outcomes are more strongly associated with internet access via home computer rather than via mobile phone the two main means of accessing the internet , and it may be that internet access via computer and home broadband is more suitable for older people in particular.

But for others, mobile phone access might be cheaper and more suitable; for example if younger adults are more residentially mobile or live in a shared flat. Thus, while internet access appears beneficial, the best means of providing it to lower income groups - for example by installing it into homes or by subsidising mobile phone data plans - is something requiring further investigation as policy options for different sub-groups.

However, the internet also has the capacity to solidify inequalities within society, with two issues in particular being highlighted by our study, both relating to greater official use of the internet. Health and care services are increasingly being organised and extended online, in order that people can access digital information, tools and services to maintain or improve their health [ 87 ]. Yet, in our study of deprived communities where health is often poorest, only a third of those with a long-standing illness or disability were able to access the internet at home, leaving two-thirds adrift from the convenience and immediacy of support via the internet.

In addition, the move to digitise all public services and the interface between government and citizens risks disadvantaging poorer communities for whom we found no association between internet use and community cohesion or empowerment. There is, therefore, a risk that in the context of disadvantaged areas where access to the internet is lower and the ability to use the technology for collective organisation and empowerment less, the digitisation of the public sector could strengthen middle-class advantages in relation to public services and political decision-making.

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Degrees of freedom ranged from 85 to Degrees of freedom ranged from 82 to Correlations between maternal sensitivity and shyness were examined, but are not reported. The number of significant correlations was fewer than expected by chance. In a separate set of regressions, the moderating role of maternal sensitivity and sex was examined in the relation of Time 1 and Time 2 shyness.

Shyness and fear were from the same reporter within a given regression to reduce the number of analyses. Significant three-way interactions were probed by computing simple slopes of Time 2 shyness regressed on either Time 1 fear or Time 1 shyness 1 SD above the mean, at the mean, and 1 SD below the mean of sensitivity for boys and also for girls Cohen et al. Unstandardized betas are reported for simple slopes to facilitate comparison between sexes. Both regressions computed for Time 2 mother-reported shyness contained a significant three-way interaction term see Table 4.

Simple slope analyses suggested that Time 1 fear was unrelated to Time 2 shyness for sons of sensitive mothers. Time 1 shyness was not significantly related to Time 2 shyness for daughters of insensitive mothers Figure 2. Thus, the positive association between mother-reported Time 1 fearfulness or shyness and Time 2 shyness was largest in magnitude for sons of insensitive mothers and somewhat weaker for sons of mothers who were average in sensitivity.

Time 1 and Time 2 shyness, but not Time 1 fear and Time 2 shyness, were positively related for sons of sensitive mothers, but the relation was weaker than that for sons of average or insensitive mothers. The association between mother-reported fearfulness and shyness was not significant for daughters of sensitive, average, or insensitive mothers, but the positive relation between Time 1 and Time 2 shyness was significant for daughters of sensitive mothers. In contrast to regressions in which mother-reported shyness was predicted, neither of the regressions for Time 2 caregiver-reported shyness contained a significant three-way interaction term.

We refer to these regressions as Regressions 3 and 4 for clarity, although composition and results of the regressions are not presented in a table. In the regression in which the first-order and interactive effects of Time 1 caregiver-reported shyness, Time 1 sensitivity, and sex Time 1 fearfulness was covaried were examined Regression 4 , Steps 1 and 2 were significant.

In other words, we examined whether fear interacted with sensitivity and sex when the portion of variance that is related to Time 1 shyness was removed from Time 1 fearfulness. In a similar manner, it is informative to examine if shyness interacts with sensitivity and sex to predict later shyness when using the part of Time 1 shyness that is not related to Time 1 fearfulness. Thus, four additional regressions were conducted. Regressions involving residual scores were computed in the same manner as the previous regressions; however, residual fearfulness was used in place of fearfulness and residual shyness was used in place of shyness as predictors.

Simple slope analyses suggested that Time 1 residual fear was unrelated to Time 2 shyness for sons of sensitive mothers. When T1 shyness was not covaried, none of the three steps was significant. It also was of interest to determine if the part of Time 1 shyness that was independent of Time 1 fear would predict Time 2 shyness. In sum, the portion of Time 1 mother- and caregiver-reported shyness that was independent of Time 1 fearfulness was positively related to Time 2 mother- and caregiver-reported shyness, respectively.

In addition, girls were higher in Time 2 mother-reported shyness. Aims of this study included examining the relations of fearfulness and shyness within and across 18 and 30 months of age, as well as the stability of shyness. In addition, we tested the moderating role of maternal sensitivity at 18 months and sex in the relation between month fearfulness and month shyness, as well as in the relation between and month shyness.

Previous research might suggest that fear and shyness begin to differentiate in toddlerhood e. In earlier studies, this was not longitudinally examined.

We hypothesized that fearfulness would positively relate to shyness within and across time, and that the strength of the correlation would decrease with age. The pattern of correlations generally supported this hypothesis. Nearly all of the possible relations between indexes of fear and shyness were significant within 18 months, but some relations were no longer significant within 30 months.

Specifically, observed fear was not related to shyness at 30 months. This result can be taken as evidence for differentiation over time. Normative developmental processes e. For example, effortful control, which emerges in infancy and continues to develop through the preschool years and beyond e. Thus, toddlers have a new resource to deal with fear in social situations other than withdrawal. In addition, it is possible that external factors influence shyness.

For example, children might have negative social experiences, which could produce ambivalence toward approaching others. Social failure has predicted shyness in the classroom Asendorpf, b. Conversely, positive social experiences can diminish shyness. For instance, as children age and have additional exposure to strangers, children might learn that strangers are not dangerous and do not warrant fear. However, it is possible that the weaker association between fear and shyness at 30 months when compared to 18 months was a function of measurement.

The spider task might not be as powerful an index of fear at 30 compared to 18 months of age. Similar to previous reports e. This was true despite the fact that caregivers often were not the same across time 83 children had the same caregiver reporter at 18 and 30 months. Moreover, early shyness predicted later shyness even when early shyness was differentiated from early fear residual scores.

Thus, the continuity in shyness was not primarily based on continuity of fearfulness. Consistent with some prior work, the number of correlations between maternal behavior and shyness was not greater than would be expected by chance e. However, sensitivity was involved in some moderated effects. We predicted that the positive relations between month fearfulness and shyness with month shyness would be the strongest for children of insensitive mothers. Sensitivity is thought to foster regulatory skills, independence, and secure attachment e.

In addition, shyness was most stable for sons of insensitive mothers. For girls, however, shyness was most stable when mothers were sensitive. Some researchers have argued that sensitive parenting does not challenge children prone to shyness or negative reactivity, and have found that low sensitivity related to less inhibition for emotionally negative infants Park et al. In this study, shy girls had mothers with significantly higher sensitivity than shy boys at 30 months. Thus, mothers might be particularly unlikely to challenge their girls to overcome shyness.

We do not know why our findings differed from those of Park et al. A potential reason for this is that our measures differed. For instance, Arcus et al. In addition, parenting was observed in the home in Park et al. An important contribution of the study was examining the utility and limits of fear as a predictor of shyness, particularly because the conceptual and empirical boundaries between fear and shyness often have been blurred in the literature. When the part of month fearfulness that was related to month shyness was removed, sex and sensitivity continued to moderate the relation between mother-reported month fear and month shyness.

Indeed, Kochanska e. In contrast, moderation did not occur for the prediction of month shyness from month shyness that was independent of month fear. It is possible that the shyness independent of fear might be akin to social disinterest e. The children are hesitant to interact with others; however, this hesitancy is due to lack of interest or motivation to interact. Shyness independent of fear also might tap self-conscious shyness. The children in the sample were young, but month-olds appear to understand social rules for appearance and express self-conscious emotions e.

It is possible that children who were rated as shy at 18 months developed stronger shyness or a different kind of shyness by 30 months of age. Relations between caregiver-reported month shyness or fear and month shyness were not moderated by sex or sensitivity. This could have been due to care-givers being a heterogeneous group of people e. In addition, the power to detect interactions was lower because fewer caregiver reports were obtained than mother reports.

Henderson and colleagues surmised that the sex difference might have been due to differing treatment from caregivers toward withdrawn and highly reactive boys and girls. Thus, mothers tended to respond more negatively to shy boys than shy girls and slightly not significantly more negatively to fearful boys than fearful girls. In conclusion, the data allowed for a more accurate depiction of the development of shyness than cross-sectional data provide; however, the study was constrained by several limitations. The sample was moderately homogeneous with respect to socioeconomic status.

This might limit the generalizability of results. Moreover, the sample was not selected for shyness, which can be viewed as a strength or weakness. Including children from the middle of the shyness distribution might accurately depict shyness if one views it as a continuum. On the other hand, if one views shyness as categorical, including moderately shy children is of little utility for understanding shyness.

In addition, the study could have benefited from observation of maternal reactions to shy or fearful behavior. Parent behaviors occurring in shyness- or fear-evoking situations e. This was the first study to assess the relations of fearfulness and shyness longitudinally and to examine the interaction of month fear or shyness, month sensitivity, and sex when predicting shyness at 30 months of age. The study contributed to the literature by examining the relation of fearfulness and shyness within a longitudinal design in which earlier levels of shyness were controlled.

Earlier fear or shyness and later shyness appear to be positively associated, especially for sons of insensitive mothers, although earlier and later shyness were positively related for boys of sensitive mothers. For girls, continuity of shyness was strongest when mothers were sensitive. When month fear was examined independent of concurrent shyness, fear continued to interact with sex and sensitivity in the prediction of later shyness.

In contrast, when month shyness was examined independent of concurrent fear, month shyness positively predicted month shyness, but did not interact with sex and sensitivity. Thus, it appeared that it was fearfulness or fearful shyness that interacted with maternal sensitivity when predicting shyness over time.


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Nancy Eisenberg and Tracy L. We thank our participants, undergraduate research assistants, graduate students, and Anne Kupfer for their contributions. We also thank Leona Aiken, as well as several anonymous reviewers, for their helpful comments and suggestions. Natalie D. Tracy L. Bridget M. Cynthia L. Europe PMC requires Javascript to function effectively. Recent Activity. The moderating roles of observed maternal sensitivity and children's sex in the relation between month fearfulness and month shyness, and between and month shyness, were tested.

The snippet could not be located in the article text. This may be because the snippet appears in a figure legend, contains special characters or spans different sections of the article.

Author manuscript; available in PMC Dec PMID: Eggum , Nancy Eisenberg , Tracy L. Spinrad , Mark Reiser , Bridget M. Gaertner , Julie Sallquist , and Cynthia L. Correspondence should be addressed to Natalie D. Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Procedure An undergraduate experimenter escorted the mother and child into the testing room and began the first task.

Open in a separate window. Moderated Relations for Fearfulness or Shyness, Sensitivity, and Sex Predicting Shyness Correlations between maternal sensitivity and shyness were examined, but are not reported. Regression 1 Regression 2 Time 1 Predictor Un. B Time 1 Predictor Un. B Step 1 covariate M shy. Contributor Information Natalie D.

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