On 28 September 2015 Anni Tamme will defence her doctoral thesis „Conflicts and their management in early childhood and adolescence“ in the Council of the Faculty of the Social Sciences and Education.
Supervisor: professor Tiia Tulviste (University of Tartu)
Opponent: professor Brett Laursen (Florida Atlantic University)
When asked to recall the most recent conflict situation, you probably do not need to travel far back in time in your mind. You might, however, need to think longer about what guided you in conflict resolution or why the guy next door resolved a similar conflict so much differently. In my doctoral thesis, I focused on preschoolers’ and adolescents’ conflicts with parents and peers, and examined the relative importance of individual and situational factors for their conflict management strategies. Our findings point out the complex interplay of various individual and situational factors. Both preschoolers and adolescents were guided by the type of conflict. Self-assertion was more common in case of serious and provocative conflict situations, such as name-calling among children and backbiting among adolescents. Among preschoolers, we also examined how the two conflict parties influenced each other. We found that they responded aggressively to another child’s aggression, and prosocially to prosocial behavior. Age, the level of behavior problems, and the conflict partner’s gender were not related to preschoolers’ conflict management strategies. Gender differences in children’s and adolescents’ strategies were modest, and likely to be highly context-specific. Differences in value priorities lied behind cultural differences in adolescents’ conflict management strategies. Compared with Estonian and German adolescents, Russian teens considered family relationships more important, and were thus more willing to do what their parents asked. Differences among Estonian, German, and Russian, and among Estonian and Russian-Estonian adolescents also emerged in their reasons given for their conflict management strategies. Russian adolescents in Estonia and Russia were more willing to subordinate their own interests to those of their conflict partner. Estonian and German adolescents took more frequently into account both their own and their conflict partner’s interests.