The use of mindfulness training to examine the role of executive function in preschool peer conflict

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica S. Caporaso (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stuart Marcovitch

Abstract: Children’s responses to peer conflict are important for the development of positive peer relationships and are an indication of children’s overall level of social competence. Past research has shown that children with lower levels of executive function (EF) are more likely to choose aggressive responses to peer conflict (e.g., Caporaso, Marcovitch, & Boseovski, 2016) and this may be because of a shared underlying mechanism (i.e., reflection) between social competence and EF. Mindfulness training has been proposed as a way to increase EF in children and adults by training reflection and reducing the experience of negative emotions and it was hypothesized that it could promote competent responses to peer conflict. A brief version of mindfulness training and a taxing version of the training without the guided mindfulness directions were used to examine the effect these trainings had on responses to peer conflict. Mindfulness training did not produce an increase in competent responding. Low income participants in the Taxing condition selected fewer competent responses to peer situations compared to the Mindfulness and Control conditions. These results are discussed in the context of EF and emotion. Implications regarding reflection as a shared underlying mechanism between EF and social competence are also discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Aggression, Executive function, Mindfulness, Preschool, Social competence
Preschool children $x Psychology
Interpersonal relations in children
Interpersonal conflict in children
Aggressiveness in children
Social skills in children
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy

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