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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24754

Title: Children's Scripts for Peer Conflict During the Transition to School
Authors: Garfinkel, Daniel Adam
Advisor: Perlman, Michal
Department: Human Development and Applied Psychology
Keywords: conflict
scripts
children
school
Issue Date: 12-Aug-2010
Abstract: Scripts for peer conflict were examined in a sample of 55 four- and five-year-old children. Children provided a full sequential report of the conflict strategies used in six hypothetical peer conflict situations involving disputes over possessions. Interviews were conducted at two time points (early and late) during the children’s first year of school. Scripts were studied at two different analytical levels examined separately in two manuscripts: in the first manuscript, conflict scripts were examined at the group level to reveal general patterns across the participants. The second manuscript explored individual differences in children’s conflict scripts by identifying subgroups of children on the basis of how their scripts unfolded from beginning to end. Analyses in the first manuscript offered support for the stability of children’s scripts across situations. Findings suggested that children internally represent the sequential unfolding of conflict. In particular, their scripts became more constructive as conflicts progressed towards termination, a pattern that was especially apparent later in the school year. As well, analysis of if-then contingencies within scripts revealed that problem solving (e.g., offering to share or negotiate) was perceived by children to de-escalate hostility in conflict, as problem solving was rarely followed by power assertive responses. Averaging actions across conflicts masked specific conflict processes that were captured with sequential analysis of patterns. In the second manuscript, the types of scripts children reported were examined in relation to their receptive language abilities, theory of mind, and social adjustment to school. There was some support for the hypothesis that children whose scripts were constructive (i.e., containing references to problem-solving and conciliation) had better receptive language skills and were more prosocial than children whose scripts were less constructive. Theory of mind was unrelated to children’s ability to represent perspective-taking in their scripts. Directions for future research on children’s conflict scripts are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24754
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology - Doctoral theses

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