Engaging in relational maintenance and managing conflict constructively are two keys to a happy relationship. The literature in these two areas; however, is largely focused on romantic relationships. Despite the fact that scholars have stressed the important role that communication plays in families, very little research has focused on the communicative behaviors family members use to maintain relationships and manage conflict with one another. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations among relational maintenance, conflict management, and relationship satisfaction within families by examining these behaviors in the parent-child relationship, using an Attachment Theory framework.
Questionnaires were filled out by 253 parent-young adult child dyads. Data were analyzed using Multilevel Modeling to examine the effects of one's own behaviors and attachments, as well as, the behaviors and attachments of one's partner. The findings were generally consistent with an Attachment Theory perspective. Parents and young adult children who were more Secure were more satisfied with their relationships. In addition, attachment dimensions were significantly associated with relational maintenance behaviors (Positivity, Task Sharing, Social Networks, and Mediated Communication) and conflict management behaviors (Compromising, Collaborating, Yielding, Competitive Fighting, Indirect Fighting, and Avoiding). Two communication behaviors were associated with increased relationship satisfaction: Positivity and Collaboration. Some differing patterns also emerged for parents and young adult children.
Mediation analyses indicated that Positivity and Collaboration mediated the relationship between Security and Relationship Satisfaction for both parents and young adult children. These findings lend support to a growing argument that communication behaviors may be the explanatory force behind the associations between attachment and satisfaction with relationships. Implications for these findings, limitations of the study, and future research directions are discussed.
|School:||Arizona State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Communication, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Adult children, Attachment, Child, Conflict, Conflict management, Maintenance, Parent, Parent-child relationship, Relational maintenance|
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