Lecture Thirteen: Conﬂict Part 1
Conﬂicts within intimate partnerships are more likely to cover a different range of topics and are
less reserved than conﬂicts with a stranger or acquaintance.
Conﬂicts as destructive: historically, intimate conﬂicts were viewed as bad for the relationship.
Transformational View: conﬂicts are a necessary part of every relationship.
Deﬁnition of Conﬂict: interpersonal process that occurs whenever the actions of one person
interfere with the actions of another, this applies to any type of relationship.
Gottman and Krokoff (1989): defensiveness, stubbornness, and withdrawal were related with
dysfunctional relationships long-term. This is because there is often an escalation of conﬂict
rather than resolution.
If the resolution favours partnerships, the relationship progresses. If resolutions favours the
individual, the relationship is more likely to dissolve.
Lack of conﬂict: the relationship becomes boring and the couple will only have positive things to
devalue over time
Gain-Loss Hypothesis (Aronson and Linder 1965): predicts that relationships without conﬂict
will become boring (leads to idealized relationships where you don’t ﬁght) which is not always
Types of Conﬂict
i. Fully Structured
ii. Partially Structured
iv. Revolutionary: meta-conﬂicts, conﬂicts about conﬂicts
SIllars and Weisbert (1987): small conﬂicts follow a predictable pattern of communication (more
structured), while severe conﬂicts are not predictable — additionally they are illogical, chaotic,
External Sources of Conﬂict: social support, alternative relationships and options, income, and
Internal Sources of Conﬂict: allocation or sharing of resources, time spent together, racial
dissimilarity, communication quality, balancing needs, isolation vs. intimacy.
Children account for the largest proportion of conﬂicts, followed by chores, communication,
leisure, work, money, habits, relatives, commitment, intimacy, friends, and lastly personality.
Fincham and Bradbury argue the due to how complex relationships are, there are multiple
sources of conﬂict on the individual level, dyadic level, and societal level. Each could lead to
conﬂict at the level regarding the self, partner, relationship, or external environment.
Gender’s effects on conﬂict: men and women have been shown to be different on some
fundamental characteristics. Having two very different people in close proximity often leads to
conﬂicts. Surra and Longstreth (1990) found that in dating couples there are differences for activity
preferences based on socialization. This could lead to conﬂict, in addition to men’s low topical
Demand/Withdrawal Pattern of Conﬂict: summarizes the majority of experiences. The wife tries
to engage in conversation, or complains and the husband retreats with escalates conversation.
The wife is “demanding” and the husband is “withdrawing”
i. Psychological femininity: more likely to work on relationship
ii. Psychological masculinity: more