Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Beth Doll. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Kadie Dooley


Recess plays an important role in students’ school days because it provides students opportunities to interact with their peers in unstructured settings. Some research has explored the relation between peer conflict within school contexts and how it is related to locations of positive play and the presence of adult supervisors. Further, researchers have conducted studies to examine within group differences for gender and grade, as well as between school differences. However, results have been mixed.

This dissertation examined the degree to which the following variables were related to where peer conflict occurs during recess: location of adult supervisors, location of positive play, students’ gender, students’ grade, and students’ school. Participants included 1043 second through fifth grade students in three schools from a Midwestern state. Data collected included student marked playground maps showing where students engage in peer conflict and positive play, where adult supervisors are located, and where students spend most of their time at recess: in addition to students’ self-reported grade, gender, and school. Logistic regressions were used to examine relations between location of peer conflict and location of positive play, location of adult supervisors, students’ gender, students’ grade, and students’ school. Results indicated that there was at least one location that demonstrated a significant relation with peer conflict across the variables studied. There were significant odds that peer conflict would occur in one of the common ! playground locations when adult supervisors were located there. Four locations demonstrated a significant relation among the occurrence of peer conflict and the absence of positive play. Results also showed a significant relation among peer conflict and students’ gender, though results were mixed as to the odds of peer conflict occurring for males as compared to females. There were significant relations across grades with lower grades indicating that conflict was more likely to occur in certain playground locations as compared to higher grades. Results also showed significance of peer conflict occurring between schools. Future research and implications for practice are discussed.

Advisor: Beth Doll