Self-reported rates of interpersonal conflict vary as a function of questionnaire format: Why age-related trends in disagreement (and other events) may not be what they seem

Shrija Dirghangi, Brett Laursen, Justin Puder, David F. Bjorklund, Dawn DeLay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies examine whether self-reports of interpersonal conflict differ as a function of how the question is asked. In Study 1, 56 U.S. college students (M=20.7 years) completed different versions of a questionnaire, four times, at one week intervals. Participants reported more conflicts with the aid of memory prompts than without, an effect that was especially strong when questions focused on events from the previous day. In Study 2, 123 middle-school students (M=11.08 years) and 128 primary school students (M=8.2 years) from the same region completed one of two questionnaires describing conflict during the previous day. Children reported more conflicts with memory prompts than without. The effect was twice as strong for younger children than older children. The findings suggest that increases in reports of conflict across the transition into adolescence may be due to improvements in the ability to recall and recount events in the absence of memory cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-972
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume37
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Development
  • Memory
  • Questionnaire decomposition
  • Self-report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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