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Regular version of the site

Article

The Role of Mediation Strategies in Solving Interpersonal Conflicts

Conflict Resolution Quarterly. 2015. Vol. 33. No. 1. P. 35-55.

This article examines the role of mediation strategies in solving interpersonal confl icts. We consider solving interpersonal confl icts as disputants’ choice of the facilitating strategy and model three mediation strategies in our experimental design: facilitating, neutral, and pressing. The sample for our study consisted of 312 participants: 179 young women and 133 young men, upperclassmen in high school. Th e participants ranged in age from 14 to 18 years old (the median age was 16.7). In addition, 18 specifi cally instructed experimenters performed the role of the mediator. Our experimental study was divided into two sets based on two conditions: a group and separate dyads based on diff erent ways of solving confl icts. Th e main goal of the experiment was to create a confl ict situation by means of a game situation simulating confl ict for a limited resource. This resource was a high grade, which parties could obtain only by solving the crossword puzzle containing biological words. Th e study’s results showed that the mediator’s strategy has an impact on the process of solving interpersonal confl icts. Our results proved that the effi ciency of the mediator’s strategy diff ers depending on whether it is in a confl ict in a separate dyad or in a confl ict arising in a dyad within a social group. Th e pressing strategy appeared to be the most eff ective when compared with others in solving an interpersonal confl ict that had arisen in a dyad within a social group. Th e facilitating strategy appeared to be the most eff ective in comparison with others in solving an interpersonal confl ict that had arisen in a separate dyad. Th e results of this study can be used in the development of methodical guidelines for teachers, who often act as mediators in solving confl icts among teenagers, and for the teenagers themselves.