Gender, self-esteem, and focus of interest in the use of power strategies by adolescents in conflict situations

Joseph Schwarzwald, Meni Koslowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Considerable evidence indicates that an individual's preference of power strategies for gaining compliance is associated with personal and social variables that may affect the quality of the relationship between the parties involved. This study examined how adolescents manage conflict situations and tested the importance of personal and situational characteristics in choosing power strategies for influencing others. Using Raven's (1992, 1993) power interaction model of interpersonal influence, hypotheses regarding the relationship between gender, self-esteem, and focus of interest (self versus group), on the one hand, and power choice, on the other hand, were formulated. Eighth graders (N=356) were given scenarios of conflict situations and were asked to indicate the extent to which they would resort to each of the power strategies listed in the questionnaire to influence the other party in the scenario. Gender and focus of interest explained most of the observed variance. Boys, as compared to girls, indicated greater influence attempts regardless of strategy type. Adolescents with a self-interest focus, as compared to those with a group interest focus, resorted more to coercion and less to dependence. Low-self-esteem adolescents preferred reciprocity when compared with high-self-esteem ones. Because gender differences explained the bulk of the variance, the discussion emphasized social ramifications concerning cross-cultural differences and gender role development as they relate to power strategy preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-32
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


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