• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Conflict is a natural and inevitable aspect of most close personal relationships - the crucial issue is not whether it exists, but the way it is managed. Skilfully portraying both developmental or healthy conflict, and destructive or unhealthy conflict, this interdisciplinary volume leads to a better understanding of this vital aspect of relationships. Integrating current research and theory, the authors explore the variation in definitions of interpersonal conflict; review popular survey and observational measures; and discuss specific concerns regarding parent-child relationships, conflict between friends and those romantically involved.

Parent-Child Conflict
Parent-child conflict

This chapter is the first of three that examines research on conflict in types of close relationships. Congruent with our assumption that understanding interpersonal conflict requires attention to issues relevant to particular relational forms, this chapter focuses on theory and research concerned almost exclusively with parent-child relationships. More precisely, the parent-child relationship represents an involuntary association, an imbalance of power and resources, and an obligation for the parent to function as caregiver. These features, combined with a marked focus on development of the child, separate research on parent-child conflict from research concerning other relational types.

A primary theoretical issue germane to parent-child research in general concerns the direction of influence. Stafford and Bayer (1993) noted three causal alternatives. The unidirectional approach focuses on ...

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