Children's goals and strategies in response to conflicts within a friendship
Little is known about the skills required for friendship, as distinct from those required for peer acceptance. The present study examined whether children's goals and strategies in friendship conflict situations are predictive of their friendship adjustment, after accounting for level of peer acceptance. Fourth- and 5th-grade children (N = 696) responded to 30 hypothetical situations in which they were having a conflict with a friend. Results indicated that children's goals were highly related to their strategies and that children's goals and strategies were predictive of their real-life friendship adjustment. Pursuing the goal of revenge toward a friend was the goal or strategy most strongly associated with lacking friends and having poor-quality friendships. Gender differences were also found for each goal and strategy, with girls displaying a more prosocial goal and strategy orientation than boys.
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