Shyness in adults

Shynessin adults

Shynesscan be described as an emotional state or anxiety disorder commonlyexhibited by social disengagement. shyness has its troublingconsequences which include making an individual less expressive bothverbally and nonverbally, loneliness, date less and make them takeless advantage on social activities. This paper will analyze andevaluate on Arnold Buss theory to understand the development ofshyness in an adult.

Originsof shyness

Researchsuggest that shyness can be caused by different factors that includegenetic factors, environmental factors, prenatal influences ordramatic social episode. For this reason, adults originating from achaotic home environment maybe related with shyness and experiencerejection in other aspects of their life. Thus, if childhood shynessis not addressed properly there is a likelihood of lasting allthrough adulthood stage. According to Crozier, a frontalactivation-neuroendocrine model has been developed to explain wherethe different kind of shyness originates from. This model assumesthat a complex interaction between the environment, thehypothalamic-pituitaryadrenocortical (HPA), frontal cortex andserotonergic system. Crozier suggest that using this model thefrontal cortex play the significant role of regulating meditation inthe forebrain region for instance the amygdale and HPA to maintainfear caused by genes responsible for coding and transportation aswell as regulation of serotonin. As a result, the level of thefrontal cortex is speculated to be the main cause of differences inshyness (Crozier, 2002).

Thismodel is made up of assumptions that the genes responsible for codingand transportation as well as regulation of serotonin plays asignificant role of regulating some of the fear system componentsthat includes frontal cortex, HPA and brain limbic region.Furthermore, serotonin is involved as the main neurotransmitterimplicated in anxiety and withdrawal. For this reason, some shyadults my possess polymorphism a gene that contribute to reduce theeffectiveness in transportation of polymorphism. Additionally Crozier(2002), suggest that most personality differences can be explained byvarying levels of neuroticism and extraversion interactions.Therefore, interaction is the main origin of shyness in adults.Therefore, people high on neuroticism and low on extraversion arecharacterized as socially shy (Crozier, 2002).

Developmentof shyness in adult can be understood well using Arnold Buss theory.Using this theory, Buss hypothesizes two types of shyness fearfulshyness and self-conscious shyness. According to Bus theory, fearfulshyness develops in most young children while self-conscious shynessis an adult shyness demonstrated by speech inhibition as well asbehavior interactions. Self-consciousness concern experiencingunavoidable bad feelings when interacting with others, and otherspeoples thinking about one’s self. Adults with these tendenciesbecome dissatisfied with other people interactions and thus avoidsocial situations as they feel socially inadequate. According toJones &amp Schmidt (2014), adults with this social phobia fear beingjudged by other people and become very conscious when in front ofpeople and feel shy. Evidence showing a long-term outcome of shynessin adults was provided by Kagan’s analysis of data resulting fromFels Longitudinal study where anxiety in an unfamiliar situation inchildren between 3-6years was correlated with shyness in an adult.Self-conscious shyness can be described as a metacognitive concern onhow an individual appears to others. Buss further argues thatself-conscious shyness later develops into a social anxiety where anindividual becomes distressed at self-evaluation. Research findingsdemonstrate that the development of adult shyness is strongly relatedto shyness in a peer group previously. On the other hand,self-consciousness shyness is characterized by inhibition of socialbehavior and sensitivity when a person is scrutinized by others. Bussfurther suggests that shyness and sociability should be independentlydefined since they can be distinguishable (Jones &amp Schmidt,2014).

Researchdemonstrates that adult shyness can lead to greater disadvantagesthan their counterpart in various areas. Therefore, intervention toaddress shyness in adults is crucial. Adults with shyness can gethelp by using the prescribed medication such as those used to treatdepressions. In addition, Selective use of serotonin reuptakeinhibitors (SSRIs) is another treatment option used for individualswith shyness. The other treatment recommended for shy adults iscognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) where they are taught ways to makeout their social inhibition and then learn how to overcome thesesocial averting behaviors. CBT has been established as an effectiveway to treat shyness in adults. However, there are potentialchallenges such as the cost of treatment and time making the methodunattainable for many individuals (Schmidt, 1999).


Inconclusion, most people have reported to experience this shynessphenomenon at certain time in their life. In this paper, the originof shyness from a personality trait was examined. According toresearchers, shyness can originate from genetic contributions,environmental factors, prenatal influences or dramatic socialepisodes. The different types of shyness result from differencessocial avoidance approach and behaviors. Adults with this trait ofshyness report feelings of negative self-worth and depressions.Therefore, intervention to address shyness in adults is crucial sothat they can fully participate in social activities.


Crozier,W. R. (2002). Shyness:Development, Consolidation and Change.Chicago: Routledge.

Jones,K. M., Schulkin, J., &amp Schmidt, L. A. (2014) Shyness: Subtypes,Psychosocial Correlates, and Treatment Interventions. Psychology,5, 244-254.

Schmidt,L. A. (1999). Frontal Brain Electrical Activity in Shyness andSociability. PsychologicalScience,10, 316-320.