Conflict Resolution Skills

Good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life. Conflict resolution is a category of social skills that help youth positively address conflict such as dealing with teasing, losing, gossip and accusations, being left out, or issues that may arise due to peer pressure. It is important that youth develop conflict resolution skills to help them resolve differences of opinion and work through strong emotions before a conflict escalates and becomes disrespectful or abusive. The extent to which children and adolescents possess good conflict resolution skills can influence their academic performance, behavior, and social and family relationships. 

Measuring the extent to which youth learn to constructively resolve peer conflicts is an indicator of whether or not they have acquired or are acquiring the social competence and skills to make choices that will strengthen their interpersonal relationships and facilitate success in school. 

Research indicates that youth who repeatedly exhibit poor conflict resolution skills may experience difficult relationships with adults and peers; show higher potential to get involved in the criminal justice system as adults; or demonstrate poor academic performance as an indirect consequence (). 

Assessing a program’s success at improving the ability of youth to constructively resolve peer conflict may be done by comparing self-reported data at program intake and exit. Individual level success on this indicator will be a relatively good score on a questionnaire. At the program level, assessing success may be done by comparing responses at program intake, at later intervals, and/or at exit. It is also meaningful to compare results for the current cohort with those of previous cohorts.

By Urban Institute



Source Cited

National Association of School Psychologists. NASP Fact Sheets. Accessed July 26, 2011