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The relation between socio-economic status concerns and angry peer conflict resolution is moderated by pet provisions of support

By B. K. Bryant, M. B. Donnellan

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Conflict resolution is a critical skill required in peer relations, and anger retaliation is a problematic strategy for resolving conflict. Conflict resolution with peers in relation to socio-economic status (SES) concerns among boys was investigated. Of particular interest in this study was a test of the value of pet provision of feelings of importance and pride in relation to children's use of an aggressive style of conflict resolution with peers. One hundred and seven boys, in grades 3-7 (ages 8-13 years) participated in this study. Boys' self-reports of the extent to which their favorite pet made them feel important was of central interest. Three specific pet provisions of support were considered: (a) a pet showing admiration and affection, (b) a pet being an object of nurturance while providing companionship, and (c) a pet providing an exclusive, intimate relationship by "listening" to a boy sharing of feelings. Results indicate that the pet provision of child self-enhancement provides a buffer to boys with SES concerns in relation to their use of anger retaliation with peers. Unlike pet provision of admiration with affection (i.e., child self-enhancement), pet provision of support as an "object" of child nurturance and enjoyable companionship was not related to anger retaliation among boys in general or among boys with SES concerns. This demonstration of differential effects of pet provisions of support attests to the importance of delineating what constitutes support and testing the function of different forms of support. Interpretation of findings include a discussion of theoretical perspectives proposed useful for understanding the role of pets in child development.

Date 2007
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 20
Issue 3
Pages 213-223
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Language English
Author Address Department of Human and Community Development, 1 Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Anger
  2. Anthrozoology
  3. Boy
  4. California
  5. Children
  6. Conflict
  7. Developed countries
  8. Emotions
  9. Human-animal bond
  10. Mammals
  11. North America
  12. OECD countries
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Pets and companion animals
  15. Primates
  16. Social psychology and social anthropology
  17. socioeconomics
  18. United States of America
  1. peer-reviewed