Conflicts With Authority: Children's Feelings, Actions, and Justifications

Lila Ghent Braine, Eva Pomerantz, Debra Lorber, David H. Krantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children's views of authority interactions were examined in 144 children from 6 to 11 years of age. Vignettes describing everyday conflicts between children and adult authorities (parent, teacher, police, lifeguard, store manager, and librarian) were used. A subjects factor was introduced into the log-linear analyses. The children were reported as feeling bad, as complying, and as anticipating negative consequences for noncompliance. There was a positive correlation between compliance and the anticipation of negative consequences. Although the children saw the authority interactions as coercive, their justifications did not refer primarily to coercion. The children viewed authority relations as involving an interplay between coercion and legitimate reasons for compliance. Age changes were found in reported feelings and in a small set of justifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-840
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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