Children's social goals and self-efficacy perceptions as influences on their responses to ambiguous provocation
This study examined whether children who vary in their behavioral responses (aggression vs. withdrawal vs. problem solving) to ambiguous provocation but who are similar in their attributional processes differ in their social goals and self-efficacy perceptions. In response to 10 hypothetical situations involving ambiguous provocation, fourth- and fifth-grade students (n = 781) indicated whether or not the protagonist intended to cause the harm and reported how they would respond to the protagonist's action. Newly developed measures assessed children's situated social goals and self-efficacy perceptions. Results indicated that the aggressive, withdrawn, and problem-solving responders differed in their social goals and self-efficacy perceptions. The strength of the findings, compared to earlier work on children's goals and self-efficacy perceptions, suggests the importance of a situated social-cognitive assessment in which children's thoughts are measured in a specific kind of social situation and are related to their reported behavior in the same type of situation.