Relationship satisfaction and conflict styles of partners

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Power, M. & Jang, D. (2006) Relationship satisfaction and conflict styles of partners. Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, Vol. 18 (3) pp. 171-177.

Previously published as; Power, M. & Jang, D. (2006) Comparing conflict styles in relationships. Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, Adelaide.

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Copyright © Mary Power & Deannah Jang, 2006.


Past research Reese-Weber and Kahn (2004) shows that perceptions of parental conflict resolution style are related to current conflict styles with romantic partners. Cramer (2003) demonstrated that negative conflict reduces relationship satisfaction. This study provides data to document how subjects view their own conflict styles (defined as specific types of conflict behaviour (Cosier and Ruble, 1981) together with behavioural orientations towards conflict (Thomas, 1975) in their relationships with parents and partners and relates these comparisons of past relationships with levels of satisfaction (Hendrick, 1988) in current relationships. Their perception of their own conflict style is matched with their scores on a validated measure of conflict styles (Conflict-Resolution Behaviour Questionnaire (CRBQ) Rubenstein & Feldman (1993). By comparing their own assessment of their conflict style with the results on the CRBQ we obtained a measure of the metacognitive awareness of conflict resolution styles of the participants. We then compare their relationship satisfaction with their metacognitive awareness of their own style and their assessment of their partner's style. This survey was lodged on the web on 11-9-2005 and results were down loaded on 15.12.2005. The survey was composed of 110 questions 96 of them used a Likert scale. There were 6 multiple choice and 8 open ended questions. Three hundred and sixty nine logons were registered and two hundred and eight seven began the survey with about 220 answering most questions. 67% were female and 33% male and all but two were or had been in heterosexual relationships. 51.8% were currently in a relationship and 28.2% answered the survey in relations to a recent past relationship. Relationship length ranged between 1 month and twenty four years. Just over half the subjects (51.6% were aged between 18-25 with 16.7% aged between 26-35, 13.9% aged between 36-45 ; 11.%% between 46-55 and 6.3% aged 56 or over. the parents of most subjects (74.5%) were currently married or had been before their deaths. Divorced parents were in the minority 20%. Subjects were anonymous and were influenced by a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Similarly they listed a ranged of significant religious influences in their lives. Reports of Hendricks satisfaction scale. Most or 52.6% saw that their conflict style resembled their mothers' style and 47.4% saw that they followed their father's style. Discussion centres on measures which will highlight a metacognitive awareness (Power, 1992) of the interpersonal communication skills required to resolve conflict successfully and highlights key areas where subjects need further training.

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