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Explaining variability in sibling conflict resolution strategies during middle childhood

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Explaining variability in sibling conflict resolution strategies during middle childhood

Recchia, Holly (2009) Explaining variability in sibling conflict resolution strategies during middle childhood. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The goal of this dissertation was to identify the correlates of 4- to 10-year-olds' strategies for resolving actual sibling conflicts. A sample of62 sibling dyads participated in two sessions with their primary caregivers (54 mothers, 7 fathers, 1 legal guardian). Each child was interviewed privately about two recurring conflicts; in one session, siblings subsequently attempted to resolve the conflict in a dyadic negotiation, and in the other, during a triadic negotiation with their caregiver. Measures of siblings' conflict strategies in the home, social-cognitive abilities, and relationship quality were also administered. In Study 1, siblings' conflict strategies and outcomes were examined as a function of age, birth order, and parental interventions into children's conflict. Siblings' conflict strategies became more constructive with age. Further, parents' constructive intervention strategies (e.g., future planning, developing understanding) were related to siblings' independent use of constructive strategies and achievement of compromise outcomes, but especially when children liked each other. In Study 2, associations between children's social understanding and conflict strategies were tested. There were unique patterns of association for each measure of social-cognitive ability (i.e., second-order false belief, conflict interpretive understanding, and narrative references to conflict perspectives). However, links between younger siblings' social understanding and conflict behaviour typically depended on how much siblings liked each other. In Study 3, siblings' conflict outcomes were examined as a function of each sibling's description of conflict (i.e., issues, culpability, and emotions). Siblings compromised more when their narratives included references to physical hann and when they described feeling sad during conflict. Children were less likely to compromise when they (a) described fairness/right violations in their conflict narratives, and (b) believed that their sibling was solely culpable for a fight. In sum, to best explain variability in sibling conflict strategies, results highlight the need to consider features of siblings' (a) family system (e.g., behaviour socialized by parents), (b) individual characteristics (e.g., social understanding,), (c) dyadic motivations (e.g., relationship quality), and (d) descriptions of specific conflicts. In particular, results suggest that despite sophisticated social and cognitive skills, children will not engage in constructive sibling conflict strategies unless they are motivated to do so.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Recchia, Holly
Pagination:xv, 160 leaves : ill., forms ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howe, N
ID Code:976345
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:24
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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