This study investigated how preschool boys’ conflict management was related to their disruptive behavior and peer rejection in the fall (Time 1) and spring (Time 2) of the preschool year. Additionally, conflict management measures at Time 1 were examined as predictors of disruptive behavior and peer rejection at Time 2. Fifty-three boys from Head Start classrooms participated and were videotaped during interactive sessions with classmates at each time point. From transcripts of videotapes, conflicts were identified and conflict strategies were coded. Teacher and peer assessments of boys’ disruptive behavior and peer nominations of disliking were also collected at each time point. Overall, results indicated that boys who engaged in higher rates of conflict and exhibited greater aggression and avoidance during peer conflicts tended to be rejected by peers and perceived as disruptive by teachers and peers. Moreover, conflict strategies made unique contributions to disruptive behavior, whereas the frequency of conflict did not. In contrast, both conflict rate and avoidant behavior during conflicts predicted peer rejection over time. The current findings help to specify how individual differences in conflict management are associated with disruptive behavior and peer rejection during early childhood and, in particular, underscore the potential risk of avoidant conflict strategies for social maladjustment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology