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Conflict and the Friendship Relations of Young Children

Willard W. Hartup, Brett Laursen, Mark I. Stewart and Amy Eastenson
Child Development
Vol. 59, No. 6 (Dec., 1988), pp. 1590-1600
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130673
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130673
Page Count: 11
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Conflict and the Friendship Relations of Young Children
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Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to compare conflicts occurring between young children and their friends to those occurring between nonfriends. 53 children with a median age of 4 years, 3 months were observed and interviewed to determine who were mutual friends, unilateral associates, or neutral associates. 146 conflicts were also observed. Conflicts between mutual friends, as compared to those occurring between neutral associates: (a) did not occur less frequently, differ in length, or differ in the situations that instigated them, but (b) were less intense, were resolved more frequently with disengagement, and more frequently resulted in equal or partially equal outcomes. Continued socialization was also more likely following conflicts between friends. Conflicts between unilateral associates resembled those between nonfriends, although postconflict interaction resembled that between mutual friends. Conflict resolution strategies favored by friends maximize the likelihood that their interaction and their relationships will continue.

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