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J Genet Psychol. 2003 Jun;164(2):153-73.

Development of social problem solving in early childhood: stability, change, and associations with social competence.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, USA. lara.mayeux@utdallas.edu


Kindergarten and 1st-grade boys were administered social cognitive interviews in 2 consecutive years to investigate the response-generation step of N. R. Crick and K. A. Dodge's (1994) social information processing model. Boys generated responses to 4 types of hypothetical social dilemmas. Responses to these situations were primarily prosocial, with a large minority of avoidant and antisocial solutions. In general, older boys provided more effective solutions than did their younger peers, and stabilities were modest but significant for subcategories of both prosocial and antisocial responses. Boys who were accepted by their peers provided more prosocial and effective solutions than did boys of lower peer status, but no status differences emerged for antisocial responses. The data also suggest that young children view aggression as an acceptable means to solving peer conflict.

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