3 Conflict Beliefs, Goals, and Behavior in Romantic Relationships During Late Adolescence

3 Conflict Beliefs, Goals, and Behavior in Romantic Relationships During Late Adolescence

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EMPIRICAL RESEARCH Confict BelieFs, Goals, and Behavior in Romantic Relationships During Late Adolescence Valerie A. Simon Æ Sarah J. Kobielski Æ Sarah Martin Received: 15 October 2007 / Accepted: 5 December 2007 / Published online: 4 January 2008 Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008 Abstract Little is known about social cognition regard- ing confict in romantic relationships during late adolescence. The current study examined belieFs, social goals, and behavioral strategies For confict in romantic relationships and their associations with relationship qual- ity among a sample oF 494 college students. Two dimensions oF confict belieFs, constructive and destructive, were identi±ed. Constructive confict belieFs were associ- ated with relationship-oriented confict goals and negotiation strategies during romantic confict. Destructive confict belieFs were associated with confict goals Focused on revenge or individual needs (selF or partner) and with destructive confict behavior (aggression and compliance). Confict goals partially mediated links between general confict belieFs and speci±c confict strategies. Confict belieFs, goals, and behavior also uniquely predicted the degree oF confict and intimacy in romantic relationships. Keywords Romantic relationships Á Confict Á Social inFormation processing Á Confict resolution Á Intimacy Á Adolescence Á Emerging adulthood Introduction Increases in intimacy and confict characterize the course oF romantic development during adolescence (Chen et al. 2006 ; ²urman and Buhrmester 1992 ; Laursen et al. 2001 ). These normative changes in the nature oF romantic rela- tionships are accompanied by a growing preFerence For compromise and negotiation to resolve confict with romantic partners (Laursen et al. 2001 ). This shiFt in con- fict behavior is presumed to refect a growing awareness that some confict is expectable as well as an underlying goal orientation that Favors relationship needs over indi- vidual domination. Yet research to support these assumptions is notably absent. We actually know very little about individuals’ belieFs regarding the meaning oF confict in romantic relationships. Equally scant is inFormation about the particular goals individuals pursue during romantic relationship confict and their links to confict behavior. In the current study, we draw upon social inFormation processing theory (Crick and Dodge 1994 ; Huesmann 1988 ) to examine how belieFs about confict in romantic relationships are associated with social goals For confict, confict behavior, and romantic relationship qual- ity during late adolescence. BelieFs About Romantic Confict Social inFormation processing theory posits that general knowledge about social behavior aFFects how individuals process and respond to social situations (Crick and Dodge 1994 ; Huesmann 1988 ). Research supports a model in which latent knowledge structures guide social inForma- tion processing which, in turn, infuences behavioral responses. Various types oF knowledge structures have V. A. Simon ( & )
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This note was uploaded on 12/16/2009 for the course COM 312 taught by Professor Jacobsen during the Spring '09 term at ASU.

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3 Conflict Beliefs, Goals, and Behavior in Romantic Relationships During Late Adolescence

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