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Conflict in Couples and Families

Conflict in relationships involves serious disagreements or arguments and is typically a result of incompatible expectations, hopes, and/or goals. Conflicts are normal in relationships and, depending on how they are resolved, their resolution can help people become closer or can cause damage to relationships. Sometimes fundamental differences in views cannot be resolved, and so a couple or family instead sets goals to respect differences and agree to disagree. If conflict is experienced as a personal attack, rather than as differences, disputes may escalate and become entrenched in the relationship. Numerous theoretical premises have added to the understanding of conflict in couples and families. This entry discusses how family dynamics can contribute to conflict and some models for understanding what causes conflict in couples and families ...

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