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Beliefs about the controllability of social characteristics and children's responses to outsiders' interference in friendship

by Lavallee, Kristen Lee.

Abstract (Summary)
iii Although some jealous children respond to interference in friendships by outsiders with problem solving and talking with their friend, others engage in withdraw from the relationship or retaliate against friends or others. Beliefs about the nature of social characteristics are proposed as an explanation for behavioral heterogeneity in response to jealous provocation. Based on learned helplessness theory and research on children’s implicit personality theories, children who subscribed strongly to the belief that social characteristics are fixed and that social outcomes are uncontrollable (high entity beliefs), were expected to more strongly endorse asocial and antisocial responses and less strongly endorse prosocial responses to outsider interference than children who did not have strong entity beliefs depending on their internal versus external attributions of blame. Two hundred eighty six boys and girls in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades (primarily Caucasian) participated in an experimental test of this hypothesis. Although the hypothesized interactions between beliefs and locus of blame were not supported, results indicated that children who believe social characteristics are changeable did also believe they had more control over the situation in the internal condition than children who believe social characteristics are immutable. Further, pessimistic children were more likely to tend to endorse asocial and antisocial behavior and less likely to endorse prosocial behavior than optimistic children.
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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