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Differences between resource control types revisited: A short term longitudinal study

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Social Development

Published online on


Hawley's influential resource control theory (RCT) posits that both coercive and prosocial strategies may yield social dominance, as indexed by resource control. Based on differences in youths’ relative use of these strategies, RCT a priori defines five distinct subtypes. Several studies by Hawley and colleagues have revealed substantial differences between subtypes in terms of obtained resource control and various social characteristics (e.g., agreeableness). The present longitudinal study (N = 394; Mage = 10.3; SD = 0.5) expands on previous work. Firstly, because several items used to assess strategies in RCT appear to confound strategy use with the resulting benefits (resource control), we disentangled between strategy use as such and obtained resource control. Secondly whereas previous work has been exclusively cross‐sectional, the present study was longitudinal. ANOVAs comparing subgroups provided support for some core tenets of RCT, but not for others. For instance, bistrategic children scored high on both resource control and perceived popularity. However, bistrategics engaged in elevated bullying, and whereas Hawley asserts that they are proficient in balancing ‘getting ahead’ with ‘getting along’, their behavior appeared to evoke clear negative reactions in the peer group at large. Findings also showed that non‐controllers did not experience more negative outcomes than their peers across all domains.