The purpose of the proposed multi-trait, multi-method research is to describe the relationships among children's social and moral understanding, their family and peer relationships, and their school adjustment in the middle childhood period. This sample of British children has been followed from age 4 years. The proposed study would extend this longitudinal study until the children are 9 and 10 years old. The application also proposes extending the study to include a cross-sectional sample of 40 children who are 9 and 10 year-old and who were identified as preschoolers as both """"""""hard-to-manage"""""""" and at risk for later conduct and peer relation problems. The study will generate data on the social and cognitive processes that link relationships and on understanding and adjustment between the preschool period and middle childhood. A major purpose of this research program is to bridge the gap between research on understanding of mind and on social relationships. The application also seeks to explore the parallels and discrepancies among the social and cognitive processes for a """"""""unselected (normative) sample and a sample of difficult preschoolers."""""""" The primary research areas to be explored are: 1) developmental changes in and differentiation of social and moral understanding, executive control, and cognitive functioning, and friendship, and the comparison of these patterns in the main and 'hard-to-manage' samples; 2) relations between individual differences in socio-moral understanding, executive control, and in close relationships and peer relation concurrently in second and fourth grade, for the normative and the """"""""hard-to-manage"""""""" sample, over time between second and fourth grade, and in relation to early family experiences, early friendship, and early social cognition assessments, for both samples; and (3) predictors of adjustment, perceived self competence, and antisocial behavior in second grade and in fourth grade.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Human Development and Aging Subcommittee 3 (HUD)
Program Officer
Feerick, Margaret M
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University of London Institute of Psychiatry
United Kingdom
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Dunn, Judy; Cutting, Alexandra L; Fisher, Naomi (2002) Old friends, new friends: predictors of children's perspective on their friends at school. Child Dev 73:621-35
Cutting, Alexandra L; Dunn, Judy (2002) The cost of understanding other people: social cognition predicts young children's sensitivity to criticism. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 43:849-60
Hughes, C; Cutting, A L; Dunn, J (2001) Acting nasty in the face of failure? Longitudinal observations of ""hard-to-manage"" children playing a rigged competitive game with a friend. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:403-16
Dunn, J; Hughes, C (2001) ""I got some swords and you're dead!"": violent fantasy, antisocial behavior, friendship, and moral sensibility in young children. Child Dev 72:491-505
Cutting, A L; Dunn, J (1999) Theory of mind, emotion understanding, language, and family background: individual differences and interrelations. Child Dev 70:853-65
Piotrowski, C C (1999) Keeping the peace or peace of mind? Maternal cognitions about sibling conflict and aggression. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev :5-23
Hughes, C; Dunn, J (1998) Understanding mind and emotion: longitudinal associations with mental-state talk between young friends. Dev Psychol 34:1026-37
Herrera, C; Dunn, J (1997) Early experiences with family conflict: implications for arguments with a close friend. Dev Psychol 33:869-81
Dunn, J (1996) The Emanuel Miller Memorial Lecture 1995. Children's relationships: bridging the divide between cognitive and social development. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 37:507-18
Brown, J R; Dunn, J (1996) Continuities in emotion understanding from three to six years. Child Dev 67:789-802

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