Conflict between marital partners occurs any time the two members of the dyad, or couple, are not in full agreement or have dissimilar views or opinions about something. Historically, marital conflict research and public opinion have focused on destructive marital conflict that includes verbal or physical aggression, pursuit, withdrawal, avoidance, and overt hostility, leading to the conclusion that marital conflict is consistently negative. To the contrary, marital conflict can be positive when it is constructive, including behaviors that lead to resolution, such as problem-solving, apologizing sincerely, listening, and showing support and affection. This entry describes the characteristics and impact of marital conflict by examining a broad overview of what is known about the impact of marital conflict on development across the life span and by ...

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