Peer attachment and social anxiety: Gender as a moderator across deaf and hearing adolescents

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Aitao Lu
Haiping Tian
Yanping Yu
Yi Feng
Xiuxiu Hong
Zuwei Yu
Cite this article:  Lu, A., Tian, H., Yu, Y., Feng, Y., Hong, X., & Yu, Z. (2015). Peer attachment and social anxiety: Gender as a moderator across deaf and hearing adolescents. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 43(2), 231-240.


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We examined the relationship between peer attachment and social anxiety across gender for adolescents who were deaf compared with adolescents with normal hearing, in order to establish whether or not there was a gender difference in this relationship and whether this difference varied across the 2 groups. The study was conducted with adolescents attending inner-city schools in Guangzhou, China. Participants were 112 adolescents who were deaf and who were attending 5 special schools, and 133 adolescents with normal hearing who were attending either an elementary or a middle school. Participants completed the Inventory of Peer Attachment and the Social Anxiety Scale for Children. We found that the link between peer attachment and social anxiety was stronger for adolescent girls with normal hearing than it was for adolescent boys with normal hearing, whereas this link was at a similar level for adolescent boys and girls who were deaf. The findings suggest that the effect of gender on peer attachment varies as a function of life experience of adolescents who are and are not deaf, and this underscores the importance of incorporating individual characteristics of adolescents in studies of their gender health inequalities.

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