Psychology and Child Development Department
BS in Psychology
With the prevalence of violence in high schools today, interpersonal conflict resolution is a relevant topic for both school administrators and psychologists. Many conflict resolution training programs emphasize the development of students’ emotional vocabulary to encourage mutual self-expression and the promotion of compromising and collaborating solution; however, a large number of students in California schools are classified as “English as a Second Language” (ESL), and less experience with the majority language, English, may have an effect on the specific conflict resolution styles adopted by the individual. This study tested the hypothesis that greater experience with the English language would be related to greater use of the compromising and collaborating conflict resolution strategies. The survey was administered to high school students in San Jose, California, and the results yielded significant results such that less English experience was associated with greater use of the avoiding and accommodating styles, and more English experience was associated with greater use of the collaborating style. These results can be explained by the role of emotional vocabulary in resolving interpersonal conflict, and in some cases, culture and ethnicity also play an important role on conflict behavior. The findings have practical implications for school administrators and policy makers as this study has shown that greater experience and emotional vocabulary in English is related to use of non-violent problem solving behavior in high school students.