Week 5: L2: Conflict In Relationships Flashcards Preview

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Conflict in relationships and effects of chronic conflict

- Inevitable, increases at different relationship stages, greater interdependence means greater potential for conflict, importance is how it is handled
- chronic conflict had been associated with depression, eating disorders, male alcoholism and poorer health (CVD, cancer and chronic pain)
- also associated with poor parenting, poor adjustment of children, increased parent-child and sibling conflict (especially if conflict is frequent, intense and unresolved)


What do couples fight about?

- issues of inequity - division of labour - males frequently withdraw in response to this conflict
- power and control, infidelity, problematic drug use, gambling, drug use, jealousy and money
- social comparison - both within an between couples, upwards and downwards (Buunk & Ybema, 1997)
- happy couples tend to believe their relationships are superior to others - feel, happy, proud
- distressed couples tend to believe their relationships are worse than others - feel envy and anger


Peterson (1983) - 4 common causes of conflict

- criticism
- illegitimate demands
- rebuffs
- cumulative annoyances


Stages of conflict

One engagement occurs, conflict will either escalate (with magatcd affect reciprocity setting in), or be negotiated and resolved, or just simmer away with intermittent flare-ups


Models of conflict styles - Rusbult, 1980s
-> behaviors

- active, passive, constructive, destructive
Styles -> behaviors
- exit
• active, destructive
- voice
• active, constructive
- loyalty
• passive, constructive
- neglect
• passive, destructive


Accommodation in conflict

- a combination of voice & loyalty behaviors
- involves actively inhibiting the impulse to respond destructively to negative partner behavior
- involves "transformation of motivation" - choose to act constructively for the safe of the relationship


Predictors of accommodation

- relationship happiness
- believing there are few later alternatives
- high investment in relationship
- centrality of relationship to individuals life
- relationship commitment
- strong normative support (from others) for relationship continuing


Benefits of accommodation

- associated with marital happiness, though strategies vary on adaptiveness
- loyalty is less adaptive than voice
- cognitive reappraisal is more adaptive than emotional suppression


Exit and Neglect

- Roberts (2000) - longitudinal study of 97 couples over 3 yrs of marriage
- found both hostile (exit) and distancing (neglect) behaviors had negative implant on marital satisfaction
- identified 3 types of distancing
• angry withdrawal
• conflict avoidance
• intimacy avoidance


Conflict avoidance

- may be positive for some couples
- how people handle conflict depends on their schemas and theories about conflict and how it should be resolved
- over time, conflict avoiders tend to be less happy than conflict engagers


Gottman's couple typology

- couples are either regulated or unregulated
- a regulated relationship is one in which couples enact 5 to 1 positive to negative behaviors
- non-regulated relationships are more dysfunctional than regulate relationships


Five types of marriages

1) volatile - intensely emotional, positive and negative
2) validators - interactions characterized by ease and calm
3) conflict minimisers - emphasis on finding common ground; belief that disagreements are not important
4) hostile - much direct engagement in conflict and much defensiveness; much blaming and accusing
5) hostile/detached - 'guerrilla warfare' types - generally detached but bitter skirmishes (withdrawing when partner needs care is especially damaging)


Non-regulated couples

- more likely to consider ending marriage over 4 year time span than regulated couples
- non-regulated wives - less likely to express interest, caring, joy, enthusiasm, and more likely to express disgust and contempt, than regulated wives
- non-regulated wives and husbands - high frequency of anger and whining


Predicting divorce - Gottman, 1994 "four horsemen of the Apocalypse"

Cascading pattern, critical processes leading to relationship breakdown
- complain/criticize
- defensiveness
- contempt
- stonewalling