Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Robert Althoff


Withdrawn behavior broadly describes individuals who are isolated from their peer group. Though not a clinical disorder, withdrawn behavior is a construct involved in many psychological problems, and it is likely the behavioral manifestation of distinct motivations and developmental processes. Additionally, withdrawn behavior is often used interchangeably with other psychological constructs, including shyness, social disinterest, and peer exclusion, making accurate classification difficult. In an effort to better understand the classification and developmental course of withdrawn behavior in youth, the current study used latent class analysis (LCA) and latent transition analysis (LTA) to identify distinct subclasses of withdrawn youth and to examine how these youth transition between classes over child and adolescent development. Furthermore, the current study investigated one potential predictor of class transition, sports participation. Results yielded the same two withdrawn classes across time and gender. The majority of youth fell within Class 1, which represented a low symptom class. Class 2 represented a shy/secretive class. For girls, the interpretation of Class 2 changed at Time 3 (e.g., ages 14-17 years), such that the majority of girls in the shy/secretive class also exhibited depressed mood. The majority of youth remained in the same class across time points. Although sports participation did not predict transitions between withdrawn classes, class membership at Time 2 (e.g., ages 10-13 years) predicted sports participation at Time 3, for boys. Taken together, these findings further clarify the nosology and developmental course of withdrawn behavior and the relation between withdrawn behavior and sports participation. It is recommended that future studies identify predictors of class transition and investigate whether withdrawn classes predict diagnostic trajectories.



Number of Pages

101 p.