Bistrategic resource control entails using both coercive and prosocial strategies in competition for resources. The present study sought to clarify whether bistrategic involves more than simply using both strategies some of the time. Examining 88 preschoolers' coercion and prosociality over an entire school year, results showed that coercive resource control was used most frequently at the start of the school year, presumably to access resources and establish social dominance. Rates of prosocial resource control increased over the school year, and socially dominant preschoolers showed higher rates compared with peers, presumably to maintain resource control while keeping peers as allies. Socially dominant preschoolers also used reconciliation more often than peers, resulting in higher rates of affiliation between former competitors and more positive peer regard from fall to spring. Findings are discussed in terms of resource control theory and the importance of situating social behaviors within the behavioral and relationship context in which they are embedded.
- Peer relations