ERIC Number: EJ719688
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-1
Reference Count: 76
Behavioural Patterns of Conflict Resolution Strategies in Preschool Boys with Language Impairment in Comparison with Boys with Typical Language Development
Horowitz, Laura; Jansson, Liselotte; Ljungberg, Tomas; Hedenbro, Monica
International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, v40 n4 p431-454 Oct 2005
Background: Children with language impairment (LI) experience social difficulties, including conflict management. This paper is therefore motivated to examine behavioural processes guiding preschool peer conflict progression, which ultimately contributes to overall development. Aims: To describe behavioural sequences in conflicts between children with typically developing language (TL) and between children with LI. Attention is particularly focused on the conflict resolution strategy reconciliation, i.e. friendly contact between former opponents shortly following conflict termination. It is hypothesized that children with LI, with weaker language skills, experience difficulties attaining effective reconciliation. Methods & Procedures: Unstructured play of 11 boys with LI (4-7-years-old), at a specialized language preschool, and 20 TL boys (4-6-years-old), at mainstream preschools, were video filmed. Conflicts were identified and recorded according to a validated coding system. Recorded conflict details included behavioural sequences constituting conflict cause ("conflict period") and in the "post-conflict period", reconciliatory behaviours that were classified into six "categories" ("Invitation to play", "Body contact", "Object offer", "Verbal apology", "Self-ridicule", "Cognition", i.e. offering privileges/negotiating) and the verbal character of accepted behaviours were determined. The mean proportion of individual target children's conflicts in which specific behavioural sequences had occurred were calculated and thereafter compared between and within the groups. Outcomes & Results: Boys with LI reconcile fewer conflicts than TL boys (LI: 47.3 plus or minus 4.5%; TL: 63.6 plus or minus 2.0%). Contributory factors include the occurrence of conflicts caused by "aberrance", i.e. conflicts initiated by inappropriate behavioural play intensities (i.e. "a pillow fight" where one partner swings so intensively the other partner cannot participate as a player in the game) and protests that are no longer directed to the opponent within reciprocal exchanges, but escalate to screaming/physical ranting. "Aberrant" caused conflicts were rarely observed as the conflict cause for TL boys, but represent nearly 15% of LI conflicts and "aberrant" caused conflicts are reconciled at lower rates than conflicts not caused by "aberrance". Displayed reconciliatory behaviours were accepted by opponents at similar rates in both groups and the distribution of reconciliatory behavioural "categories" was similar between the groups. However, boys with LI attempt reconciliation in relatively fewer conflicts. In addition, the individual boys with LI attain reconciliation with strictly verbal reconciliatory behaviours in a smaller proportion of conflicts. Conclusions: The findings suggest that in addition to traditional psycholinguistic remediation, intervention programmes for children with LI should address that learned language and communication skills are applied effectively in initiating and maintaining naturalistic peer interactions.
Descriptors: Intervention, Play, Males, Language Acquisition, Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Communication Skills, Language Impairments, Comparative Analysis, Interpersonal Competence, Behavior Patterns
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A