University Residence Hall Assistants as Mediators:  An Investigation of the Effects of Disputant and Mediator Relationships on Intervention Preferences.

By William H. Ross, Debra Fischer, Carol Baker, and Kim Buchholz

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, No. 8, pp. 664-707.


The present research investigated whether (a) preexisting affiliation (bias due to friendship) between a mediator and one disputant and (b) interpersonal hostility between two disputants affected university Residence Hall Assistants' (RAs') mediation strategies.  Respondents (N = 45) read one of four versions of a dispute scenario: versions varied independent variables according to a 2 x 2 design (high vs. low mediator affiliation and high vs. low disputant hostility).  Respondents indicated the probability of using eighteen mediation techniques.  Results suggested that both independent variables significantly affected strategy selection.  When friends had a complaint, the RA  was likely to first avoid mediating.  Hostility between disputants was related to less problem solving.  In all conditions, RAs mentioned techniques consistent with stage theories of mediation, moving from problem definition to problem solving to pressing the parties.


Abstract copyright (C) 1997 by V. H. Winston & Sons, Inc.  All rights reserved.