What is interpersonal conflict?
occurs whenever one person's motivations, goals, beliefs, opinions, or behavior interfere with, or are incompatible with, those of another
Why is conflict in close relationships inevitable?
- partners will occasionally differ in their moods and preferences
- certain tensions will, sooner or later, always cause some strain
What are dialectics?
What are some examples of the opposing nature of dialectics in relationships?
- personal autonomy and close connections to others
- openness vs. closedness
- stability vs. change
- integration with, versus separation from, a social network
How do the strength of dialectics vary between people and over time within the same person?
- personality:neurotic people have more unhappy disagreements
- attachment style: anxious attachment leads to fear of abandonment which leads to conflict
- stage of life: more conflict in early life due to less familiarity with partner and less compromise thus far
- similarity: less similarity results in more conflict
- alcohol: intoxication increases conflict
How does one's desires interact with the desires of his/her partner?
What is the frequency with which couples enter into conflict?
- 2.3 conflicts/week on average
- 7 "differences of opinion" every 2 weeks
- 1-2 unpleasant disagreements each week
What are some individual differences that relate to conflict in dating and married couples?
What are the four common categories of conflict?
- criticism: verbal or nonverbal acts that are judged to communicate dissatisfaction with a partner's behavior, attitude, or trait
- illegitimate demands: requests that seem unjust because they exceed the normal expectations that the partners hold for each other
- rebuffs: situations in which "one person appeals to another for a desired reaction, and the other person fails to respond as expected"
- cumulative annoyances: relatively trivial events that become irritating with repetition
How does actor-observer effects and self-serving biases lead to attributional conflict?
Everyone views others actions in different ways and when conflict occurs one person will perceive their action or side of the argument as just which leads to attributional conflict of deciding whose side of the argument is right
How do the causal and responsibility attributions of happily vs. unhappily married couples differ?
the causal and responsibility attributions of happily married couples tend to be viewed as having external sources rather than internal sources as would be perceived in unhappily married couples
What is the demand/withdraw pattern?
the demander criticizes, nags, and makes demands of the other, while the withdrawer avoids confrontation, withdraws, and becomes defensive
What is the impact of the demand/withdraw pattern on marital satisfaction
the demander would feel disregarded and misunderstood when the withdrawer does not engage with the demander as the level of demanding increases and thus satisfaction decreases
What are the roles of gender and power differences in the demand/withdraw pattern?
women tend to be the demanders and the men tend to be the withdrawers because women tend to want to change the power status in the relationship and men prefer to avoid the change in power status
Where do the 4 responses to dissatisfaction fall on the active-passive and constructive-destructive dimensions?
- exit: actively destructive
- voice: actively constructive
- loyalty: passively constructive
- neglect: passively destructive
Which individual differences are related to different styles of responding?
the difference in levels of accommodation predict the style of responding to conflict, ability to control the urge to retaliate during a conflict or giving into the urge and adding to the conflict
How do the 4 kinds of couples act during conflict and what are their levels of marital satisfaction?
- volatile: frequent and passionate arguments (satisfied marriage)
- validators: fight more politely, collaborators/problem solvers (satisfied marriage)
- avoiders: rarely argue (satisfied marriage)
- hostile: fail to maintain a 5-to-1 ratio of nice behavior to nasty conduct, lots of name calling and criticism (unsatisfied marriage)
Why is it good to match your partner with regard to conflict style?
- the right match between conflict styles leads to productive and effective conflict
- those who can handle a good fight are a good fit
- if you pair someone who can start a good fight with someone who is better at avoiding the fight will be unproductive and probably spiral out of control
What are the 5 ways of terminating conflict from most destructive to most constructive?
- separation: one or both partners withdraw without resolving the conflict
- domination: partner gets his/her way when the other capitulates/gives in
- compromise: both parties reduce their aspirations so that a mutually acceptable alternative can be found
- integrative agreements: satisfy both partners' original goals and aspirations, usually through creativity and flexibility
- structural improvement: isn't frequent, and when it occurs, it is usually the result of significant turmoil and upheaval that leads to change
How can avoiding conflict be detrimental to relationships and what evidence supports this?
not addressing issues in a relationship can lead to partners more likely to drift apart or show less commitment to the relationship. surveys showed that partners with avoiding conflict styles have less satisfied relationships
What are some of the positive outcomes of confrontation that one should seek so that fighting increases intimacy?
- properly using self-control as to not let the argument spiral out of control
- practicing the speaker-listener technique that involves one partner speaking while the other listens and using words like us and we instead of I or me