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

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 37 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 324-335
Valerie A. Simon; Sarah J. Kobielski; Sarah Martin
Date Published
March 2008
12 pages
This study examined social cognition about conflict in romantic relationships and its associations with conflict behavior and relationship quality among late adolescents.
Results indicate that older adolescents view romantic relationship conflict as a relatively ordinary occurrence in that it is more constructive than destructive. Adolescents' romantic experiences may help to shape cognitive schema about the meaning of relationship conflict. Beliefs about the constructive value of conflict were associated with the pursuit of relationship oriented goals in romantic conflict, which, in turn, predicted in late adolescents' use of negotiation to resolve romantic conflict. Beliefs that conflict is instructive predicted the pursuit of individual focus and revenge goals, which, in turn, predicted greater use of destructive conflict behavior in romantic relationships. Furthermore, destructive conflict, goals, and behavior were associated with more conflictual and less intimate romantic relationships. Social cognitive processes may be important for understanding individual differences in adolescents' conflict behavior and for promoting healthy romantic relationships. Data were collected from 94 undergraduate students at a Midwestern State University who were between 18 and 21 years old. Participation was completed through computer administered questionnaires about conflict, intimacy, and satisfaction in family, friends, and romantic relationships. Tables, references