Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Date

March 2016

Publication Title

The Encyclopedia of Family Studies






attribution, conflict resolution, conflict styles, interpersonal communication, power dynamics


Conflict resolution involves various behaviors, tactics, and strategies that help to resolve disputes, reduce interference in personal goals, and rebuff negative emotions toward a partner. Individuals balance a variety of goals during conflict, including instrumental goals, relational goals, identity goals, and process goals. Interpersonal power dynamics and cognitive attributions for the conflict can also influence the extent to which individuals are willing to confront problems and to engage in perspective‐taking. Conflict resolution strategies can be distributive, integrative, or avoidant in nature. Individuals tend to enact the same conflict style in response to all disagreements, which can take the form of dominating/competing, integrating/collaborating, obliging/accommodating, avoiding, and compromising. Integrative/collaborative conflict styles and strategies are perceived as the most effective and appropriate for achieving conflict resolution in close relationships.


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