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The Resolution of Social Conflict between Friends

Janice Nelson and Frances E. Aboud
Child Development
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Aug., 1985), pp. 1009-1017
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130112
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130112
Page Count: 9
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The Resolution of Social Conflict between Friends
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Abstract

The major question addressed was whether children respond differently to conflict with a friend than with a nonfriend. Third and fourth graders were pretested on their answers to social problems. They were then randomly assigned to a friend or nonfriend acquaintance who initially agreed or disagreed with their answer to a problem, and asked to discuss this problem with their peer. 2 variables were measured and analyzed: the content of the discussion, and the change in answer to the problem from before to after the discussion. Results indicated that friends gave more explanations of their position and more criticism of their partner than nonfriends. Disagreement provoked more change than agreement. Among the disagreeing pairs, although friends did not differ from nonfriends in the amount of change made to their answers, they changed to a more mature solution than nonfriends. These results support the view that conflict between friends promotes more social development than conflict between nonfriends.

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