Identifying clusters of adolescents based on their daily-life social withdrawal experience

Eva Bamps*, Ana Teixeira, Ginette Lafit, Robin Achterhof, Noëmi Hagemann, Karlijn S.F.M. Hermans, Anu P. Hiekkaranta, Aleksandra Lecei, Olivia J. Kirtley, Inez Myin-Germeys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Social withdrawal is often presented as overall negative, with a focus on loneliness and peer exclusion. However, social withdrawal is also a part of normative adolescent development, which indicates that groups of adolescents potentially experience social withdrawal differently from one another. This study investigated whether different groups of adolescents experienced social withdrawal in daily life as positive versus negative, using experience sampling data from a large-scale study on mental health in general population adolescents aged 11 to 20 (n = 1913, MAge = 13.8, SDAge = 1.9, 63% female) from the Flemish region in Belgium. Two social withdrawal clusters were identified using model-based cluster analysis: one cluster characterized by high levels of positive affect and one cluster characterized by high levels of negative affect, loneliness and exclusion. Logistic regression showed that boys had 66% decreased odds of belonging to the negative cluster. These results show that daily-life social withdrawal experiences are heterogeneous in adolescence, which strengthens the view that, both in research and clinical practice, social withdrawal should not be seen as necessarily maladaptive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-926
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume51
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research leading to these results has received funding from a Research Foundation Flanders Odysseus grant and a Research Foundation Flanders Red Noses project grant, both to IMG (FWO G08416N and FWO G049219N, respectively). OJK is supported by a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship from Research Foundation Flanders (FWO 1257821N).

Funding Information:
E.B. developed the concept for the current study, performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data and drafted the manuscript; A.T. developed the concept for the current study, interpreted the data and provided critical revisions of the manuscript; G.L. developed the concept for the current study, performed the statistical analysis and interpreted the data; R.A. developed the design for the SIGMA project, collected the data and provided critical revisions of the manuscript; N.H. developed the design for the SIGMA project and collected the data; K.S.F.M.H. developed the design for the SIGMA project and collected the data; A.P.H. collected the data; A.L. developed the design for the SIGMA project and collected the data; O.J.K. developed the design for the SIGMA project and coordinated the project; I.M.G. conceived of the SIGMA project, developed the design for the SIGMA project and the concept of the current study, and provided critical revisions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. The research leading to these results has received funding from a Research Foundation Flanders Odysseus grant and a Research Foundation Flanders Red Noses project grant, both to IMG (FWO G08416N and FWO G049219N, respectively). OJK is supported by a Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship from Research Foundation Flanders (FWO 1257821N). The dataset analysed during the current study is not open or publicly available at present. Deidentified data are available upon request through a data access system, ?Data cuRation for OPen Science? (DROPS), administered via REDCap at the Center for Contextual Psychiatry, KU Leuven. The ESM items from this dataset are publicly available in the ESM Item Repository (dataset ?sigma?; Kirtley et al., 2021c). This study was post-registered on the Open Science Framework (OSF), which means that the hypotheses and the data analysis plan were recorded after data collection but before the data was accessed (Benning et al., 2019). The post-registration is available here: https://osf.io/5793e/?view_only=ff6ba9c93996418389f068856c8a5485. The analysis code is available on the OSF project page for this study: https://osf.io/7htwv/?view_only=7fa5907478364f369766f51aa19041c4.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

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