Description) The investigators propose to study the language, reasoning and social skills used by pre-school and elementary school children when they and their parents attempt to understand, conduct, and resolve disputes in everyday family interaction. They will examine whether Children and their parents profit from a conflict resolution training procedure. To conduct this project, they will carry out a learnng study designed to promote listening and speaking skills that result in more accurate interpersonal and Understanding of each other. The training is carried out by instructing children and parents in critical strategies of negotiation that are frequently ignored or discounted. The training is proposed to lower the emotional volatility of family interaction, lower the rate of arguing and fighting between parents and children, increase the rate and frequency of verbal negotiation, and encourage the adoption of conflict strategies that focus on future oriented behavior and positive outcomes. The investigators will also evaluate the effectiveness of their training by assessing, experimentally, conflict resolution skills before and after training in both home and school contexts. A total of 324 working class families, representative of the primary ethnic populations in Chicago (African-American, Caucasian, and Mexican-American) will be selected or participation. In general, both parents one 4-to-6-year-old child, and one 6- to-8-year-old sibling will serve as participants. Families that are only one parent, however, will be included. The parent will be asked to nominate a second adult or an additional older sibling in place of the second parent. Families are randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions. One group participates in a series of tasks that focus on child-parent narration, negotiation, instruction in negotiation, and negotiation assessments. A second group participates in the same tasks without training. A third group (control) undergoes only the negotiation assessments. The method for their study of conflict are unique in several ways. Theirs will be one of the first studies to actually document, in a microgenetic fashion the language and learning of parents and children in specific situations such as conflict negotiations. They will track the language, content,appraisals goals, and strategies of negotiation, changes in language as a result of training, and the development of complex discourse skills of narration and argumentation. They will also describe how conflict knowledge and skill as well as emotion and affective feelings towards one another interact during negotiation and regulate the outcomes of conflict resolution

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
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DRG-A (NS))
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
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University of Chicago
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Recchia, Holly E; Ross, Hildy S; Vickar, Marcia (2010) Power and conflict resolution in sibling, parent-child, and spousal negotiations. J Fam Psychol 24:605-15
Ross, Hildy; Ross, Michael; Stein, Nancy et al. (2006) How siblings resolve their conflicts: the importance of first offers, planning, and limited opposition. Child Dev 77:1730-45
Trabasso, Tom; Bartolone, Jake (2003) Story understanding and counterfactual reasoning. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 29:904-23