An integrative examination of peer conflict: Children's reported goals, emotions, and behaviors

Bridget C. Murphy, Nancy Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of the present study was to examine the interrelations among children's typical emotions, goals, and behavior during peer conflict and to examine emotions and goals as joint predictors of behavior. Children (7 to 11 years old) described recent conflicts with peers and were questioned about their emotions, goals, and behaviors. The friendliness of children's reported goals during conflict was associated with low anger intensity and with high intensity of sadness. Children who tended to report nonconstructive behavior also tended to report relatively intense anger and relatively unfriendly goals. Furthermore, in regression analyses, the friendliness of goals uniquely predicted the constructiveness of children's behavior after controlling for the effects of anger intensity, age, gender, provoking event, and friendship with the peer Although boys and girls reported similar levels of anger and sadness, girls reported friendlier goals and more constructive behavior than did boys. The use of self-reports of actual events to examine peer conflict during middle childhood is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-557
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 19 2002


  • Conflict
  • Emotion
  • Social goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'An integrative examination of peer conflict: Children's reported goals, emotions, and behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this