This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Relating Preschoolers Coping Tactics during Resource-Based Conflicts to Social Competence




Hartwick, Olivia

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


As early exposure to center-based care continues to rise, infants and young children are introduced to a broad array of social dynamics and are immersed in peer networks in ways that were not common a generation ago. The current study examined relations between preschoolers’ coping tactics during structured episodes of resource-based conflict and three social competence families (i.e. peer acceptance, personality/behavior profiles of socially competent preschoolers, social motivation/engagement). One hundred sixty-six preschoolers were observed, with 117 in both same- and mixed-sex dyads. Bivariate correlations suggest children's use of cooperative tactics to manage the resource dilemma reflects social competence, particularly for males, while failure to cope reflects a lack of social competence. Additionally, while children showed significant variability in their use of tactics across partners, within-child variability was not explained by sex of partner. Overall, this study helps to illustrate the implications of social competence in a peer setting.