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How Do Couples Disagree? An Analysis of Conflict Resolution Profiles and the Quality of Romantic Relationships

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This study aimed to identify conflict resolution profiles and assess relationship quality levels associated with each profile. The participants were 750 heterosexual couples living in southern Brazil. They filled out measures about conflict resolution strategies, relationship quality, and sociodemographic data. A latent profile analysis was conducted in order to classify participants regarding conflict resolution. Variance and association analyses were also conducted in order to examine relationships between the resolution profiles and other study variables. Four profiles were identified: Low Conflict/Withdraw, Validator, Hostile, and Volatile. The Validator profile showed higher relationship quality, followed by Low Conflict/Withdraw and Volatile profiles, which did not differ from each other, and the Hostile, which showed low levels of relationship quality. We conclude that even though validation and negotiation are desirable, emotionally intense strategies may also be beneficial for couples in some contexts.
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REVISTA COLOMBIANA DE PSICOLOGÍA VOL. 28 N.º 2 JULIO-DICIEMBRE 2019 ISSN 0121-5469 IMPRESO | 2344-8644 EN LÍNEA BOGOTÁ COLOMBIA - PP. 91-108
Excepto q ue se establezc a de otra forma, e l contenido de esta re vista cuent a con una licenci a Creative
Commons “reconocimiento, no comercial y sin obras derivadas” Colombia ., que puede consul-
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doi: https://doi.org/10.15446/rcp.v28n2.72265
How Do Couples Disagree?
An Analysis of Conict Resolution
Proles and the Quality of
Romantic Relationships
marina zanella delatorre
adriana wagner
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil
How to cite thi s article: Delatorre, M. Z ., & Wagner, A. (). How do couples disagree? An a nalysis of con ict
resolution proles a nd the quality of romantic relationships. Re vista Colombi ana de Psicología, , -.
https://doi.org/./rcp.vn.
Correspondence concerni ng this article should be addre ssed to Dr. Ma rina Zanella Delator re, e-mail:
marina_mzd@y ahoo.com.br, 2600 Ra miro Barcelos Street, Room 226, Por to Aleg re, RS, Brasil. Zip Code:
90035-003.
  
:      – :     
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DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
Abstract
is study aimed to identify conflict resolution profiles and assess relationship quality levels associated with each pro-
file. e participants were 750 heterosexual couples living in southern Brazil. ey filled out measures about conflict
resolution strategies, relationship quality, and sociodemographic data. A latent profile analysis was conducted in order to
classify participants regarding conflict resolution. Variance and association analyses were also conducted in order to exa-
mine relationships between the resolution profiles and other study variables. Four profiles were identified: Low Conflict/
Withdraw, Validator, Hostile, and Volatile. e Validator profile showed higher relationship quality, followed by Low
Conflict/Withdraw and Volatile profiles, which did not differ from each other, and the Hostile, which showed low levels
of relationship quality. We conclude that even though validation and negotiation are desirable, emotionally intense stra-
tegies may also be beneficial for couples in some contexts.
Keywords: relationship conflict, conflict resolution, relationship quality, marital relations, latent profiles.
¿Cómo no Están de Acuerdo las Parejas? Un Análisis de los Perles
de Resolución de Conictos y la Calidad de las Relaciones Románticas
Resumen
El objetivo de este estudio fue analizar los perfiles de resolución de conflictos y evaluar los niveles de calidad de la rel-
ación asociados con cada perfil. Participaron 750 parejas heterosexuales residentes en el sur de Brasil, que diligenciaron
cuestionarios relativos a estrategias de resolución de conflictos, la calidad de la relación y datos sociodemográficos. Se
llevó a cabo un análisis de perfiles latentes para clasificar a los participantes con respecto a la resolución de conflictos.
También se realizaron análisis de varianza y asociación para examinar las relaciones entre los perfiles de resolución y las
otras variables del estudio. Se identificaron cuatro perfiles: Conflicto Bajo/Evasión, Validador, Hostil y Volátil. El perfil
de Validador mostró una calidad de relación más alta, seguido de los perfiles de Conflicto Bajo/Evasión y Volátil, que no
presentaron diferencias entre si. El perfil Hostil mostró bajos niveles de calidad de relación. Concluimos que, aunque la
validación y la negociación son deseables, las estrategias emocionalmente intensas también pueden ser benéficas para
las parejas en algunos contextos.
Palabras clave: conflictos en las relaciones de pareja, resolución de conflictos, calidad de las relaciones, relaciones
maritales, perfiles latentes.
Como os casais entram em desacordo? Uma análise dos pers de
resolução de conitos e a qualidade dos relacionamentos amorosos
Resumo
O objetivo deste estudo foi analisar os perfis de resolução de conflitos e avaliar os níveis de qualidade do relacionamento
associados com cada perfil. Participaram 750 casais heterossexuais residentes do sul do Brasil, que responderam a ques-
tionários relativos a estratégias de resolução de conflitos, qualidade do relacionamento e dados sociodemográficos. Foi
realizada uma análise de perfis latentes para classificar os participantes a respeito da resolução de conflitos. Também
foram realizadas análises de variância e associação para avaliar as relações entre os perfis de resolução e as outras variá-
veis do estudo. Foram identificados quatro perfis: Conflito Baixo/Evasão, Validador, Hostil e Volátil. O perfil de Validador
mostrou uma qualidade do relacionamento mais alta, seguido dos perfis de Conflito Baixo/Evasão e Volátil, que não
apresentaram diferenças entre si. O perfil Hostil mostrou baixos níveis de qualidade do relacionamento. Concluímos
que, embora a validação e a negociação sejam desejáveis, as estratégias emocionalmente intensas também podem ser
benéficas para os casais em alguns contextos.
Palavras-chave: conflitos nos relacionamentos de casais, perfis latentes, qualidade dos relacionamentos, relações con-
jugais, resolução de conflitos.
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
  relationships,
especially with a romantic partner, is an impor-
tant task of adult life, and marriage is still part of
the life goals of young adults in Brazil (Falcke &
Zordan, ). In this scenario, marital conict,
as an inherent phenomenon of relationships, is
an important issue in assessing marriage and ro-
mantic relationships, given that it has implications
for mental, physical, and family health (Fincham,
). Literature denes this phenomenon as the
overt opposition between spouses, which creates
disagreements and diculties in the relationship
(Fincham, ).
Conict resolution strategies may be construc-
tive or destructive, depending on how functional
or dysfunctional the results of its application are.
Constructive strategies usually involve openness
to conversation, accepting the partner’s point of
view, and commitment to solving the problem.
Destructive strategies include hostile and com-
petitive behaviors and withdrawal (Rubenstein &
Feldman, ). ese strategies are related to the
perception of relationship quality by both spouses.
Relationship quality is a multidimensional con-
struct, including the context, the personal resources
of partners and adaptive processes, with relation-
ship satisfaction included in the latter dimension
(Mosmann, Wagner, & Féres-Carneiro, ).
us, constructive strategies tend to be related
to higher relationship quality, while destructive
strategies are usually associated with a lower
perceived relationship quality (Kurdek, ; Mc-
Nulty & Russell, ; Scheeren, Vieira, Goulart,
& Wagner, ; Wheeler, Updegra, & ayer,
). For example, Wheeler et al. (), study-
ing  Mexican-origin American couples, found
that the more constructive strategies and the less
avoidance and control strategies were used, the
higher was marital satisfaction. Sheeren et al.
() investigated the role of conict resolution
mediating the impact of attachment on relation-
ship quality in  Brazilian couples. e results
conrmed that conict resolution mediates the
relationship between attachment and marital
quality. Specically, constructive strategies, even
when paired with insecure attachment, were as-
sociated with higher marital quality. Conversely,
destructive strategies may escalate to marital vio-
lence (Bonache, Gonzalez-Mendez, & Krahé, ;
Salazar, ) and are associated with higher rates
of divorce (Birditt, Brown, Orbuch, & McIlvane,
; Lantagne, Furman, & Novak, ).
Despite the emphasis given to the dichotomy
between constructive and destructive strategies,
some studies show that both can lead to positive
and negative consequences (Gottman, ; Mc-
Nulty & Russell, ; Overall, Fletcher, Simpson,
& Sibley, ; Overall & McNulty, ). For
example, a longitudinal study conducted by Gott-
man and Kroko () with observational data
on American couples found dierent associations
between short and long-term communication
patterns and marital satisfaction. Positive verbal
communication was related to short-term marital
satisfaction, but it turned out to be dysfunctional
three years later. In contrast, conict involvement,
including positive and negative communication,
predicted marital dissatisfaction in the short-term
but increased marital satisfaction over time. e
authors interpreted these results by suggesting
that confronting disagreements itself might be
functional for marriage in the long run (Gottman
& Krokoff, ). Another longitudinal study
investigating  American couples showed that
the severity of problems faced by the couple in the
relationship moderated the eect between negative
interaction and marital satisfaction. us, negative
interaction was associated with decreased marital
satisfaction for couples facing less severe problems
but was positively related to satisfaction in those
marriages dealing with severe problems (McNulty
& Russell, ).
e negative eects of conict avoidance, in
turn, can be minimized when this strategy is used
in an attempt to protect the relationship (Caughlin
& A, ) or when the couple oen shows af-
fection for each other (Caughlin & Huston, ).
In cases in which avoidance is associated with lack
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DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
of proximity between spouses, there is an increase
in marital dissatisfaction (Caughlin & A, ).
us, avoiding the conict in an attempt to mask
hostile feelings or withdrawing from conicts in
the context of aection can have dierent meanings
and consequences for the relationship.
Marital Conict and Sociodemographic Data
Some studies investigate the associations
between marital conict and sociodemographic
variables. For instance, the use of destructive
strategies decreases over time, especially for wives
(Kamp Dush & Taylor, ); whereas avoidance
of conicts may become more frequent in long-
term relationships (Holley, Haase, & Levenson,
). is is probably related to the fact that
emotion regulation improves with age (Carstensen,
Pasupathi, Mayr, & Nesselroade, ). Conict
avoidance may also play a dierent role according
to life cycle stages. For young and middle-aged
couples, avoidance can hinder resolution of con-
icts (Overall et al., ). However, for spouses
in later life and in long-term relationships, avoid-
ance may be neutral or even adaptive by moving
the discussion away from toxic areas, which may
include unattainable goals, toward less harmful
topics (Holley et al., ). Also, couples in which
one of the spouses had children before marriage
(Birditt et al., ; Kamp Dush & Taylor, ), or
couples in which the wife works full time (Kamp
Dush & Taylor, ), tend to use more destruc-
tive strategies compared to others. ese results,
however, might change according to the couple’s
cultural background and flexibility regarding
gender roles and management of household and
childrearing tasks.
Another variable to be considered is religion.
Religious involvement is associated with lower
frequency of conicts (Kamp Dush & Taylor,
) and more adaptive patterns of behavior dur-
ing conicts, compared to non-religious couples
(Kusner, Mahoney, Pargament, & DeMaris, ;
Rauer & Volling, ). In fact, there seems to be
an association between the idea that marriage is
sacred and greater positivity during conictual
discussions. It is possible that this idea, along with
spirituality, motivates couples to remain consider-
ate and warm and to avoid destructive interaction
(Kusner et al., ).
Conict Resolution Strategies
and Marital Health
Several studies associate resolution strategies
to marital health-related variables, like relation-
ship quality and satisfaction (Sheeren et al., ;
Wheeler et al., ). Other research associates
resolution strategies to disorders like depression
(Ellison, Kouros, Papp, & Cummings, ). ese
studies attempt to verify which strategies are
functional or dysfunctional. However, few studies
establish resolution proles based on a combina-
tion of strategies used, given that spouses do not
always resolve their conicts in the same manner.
In this sense, Gottmans balance theory of marriage
(Gottman, ) proposes a couple typology to
classify relationships as stable or unstable, based
on the balance and the regulation of spouses’
positive and negative behaviors.
Stable relationships are organized into three
subtypes: avoider, volatile, and validator, which
represent dierent ways of balancing positive and
negative aspects of the marital relationship (Gott-
man, ). Avoider couples do not have specic
conict resolution strategies and give little impor-
tance to acceptance of dierences. Discussions are
calm and infrequent; however, spouses tend to be
emotionally distant. In contrast, volatile couples
have high levels of positive and negative aect,
which complement each other to maintain stabil-
ity. Finally, the validator type is an intermediate
regarding aection and interaction levels. Couples
are actively involved in the conict, validating
arguments and feelings from the partner before
presenting ones own point of view (Friedlander,
Lee, & Escudero, ; Gottman, ). Accord-
ing to the theory, the three subtypes have similar
chances to maintain stable relationships (Gottman
& Notarius, ). However, a study conducted by
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Busby and Holman () found that the validating
style was associated with better marital outcomes
compared to the volatile and avoidant styles. A
similar result was found in a study investigating
conict resolution, marital quality, and religiosity
in  Latino couples (Stinson et al., ). ese
results showed that the validator style of conict
resolution was a stronger predictor of marital
satisfaction, followed by the volatile style and,
lastly, by the avoidant style.
In contrast, the unstable type includes hostile
and the hostile/detached subtypes. Hostile couples
are strongly engaged in conicts and adopt defen-
sive behaviors. Hostile/detached couples, in addi-
tion to that, are emotionally uninvolved and show
a low availability to listen to their partner’s point
of view. Instability in these types of relationship
is associated with incongruence between interac-
tion styles of partners and with the incapacity to
accommodate these styles in an adaptive manner
(Friedlander et al., ; Gottman, ). us,
the dierentiation between stable and unstable
relationships in the balance theory of marriage is
based on the ratio of positivity to negativity shown
during conicts. In stable marriages, there would
be a high positivity to negativity ratio, while in
couples in unstable marriages, the proportion of
positive and negative behaviors is similar (Gottman,
; Gottman & Notarius, ; Madhyastha,
Hamaker, & Gottman, ).
is typology identied by Gottman was
also found in other studies. For example, Ladd
and McCrady (), investigating a sample of
 American couples seeking couples therapy
for alcohol abuse, found proles corresponding
to Avoidant, Validator, and Hostile, plus a dier-
ent prole, named Ambivalent-Detached by the
authors. ese proles were obtained by a cluster
analysis, performed with behavioral codes of couple
interactions (Ladd & McCrady, ). Another
research, analyzing longitudinal data about mari-
tal satisfaction and conict from  American
couples, found the ve types postulated by the
balance theory of marriage: Validator, Avoider,
Volatile, Hostile, and Hostile-Detached (Kamp
Dush & Taylor, ).
Other studies also have investigated proles
of couple communication and conict resolution.
An observational study with  Chinese newlywed
couples found three communication proles, which
were later subgrouped into three classes regard-
ing the prevalence of communication proles in
dierent interactions across several topics (Cao
et al., ). e classes comprised couples who
were: (a) consistently supportive across interac-
tions, (b) consistently quarreling, and (c) modestly
traditional, meaning that they tended to interact
in a more neutral and restrained way compared
to the first two. Both consistently supportive
and modestly traditional reported higher marital
satisfaction than consistently quarreling couples
(Cao et al., ). Similarly, another study (Li et
al., ) investigating a sample of  Chinese
couples across the early years of marriage found
ve transition patterns regarding marital conict
resolution: (a) steadily constructive pattern, (b)
more constructive pattern, (c) unpredictable pat-
tern, (d) more destructive pattern, and (e) steadily
destructive pattern. Results showed that couples
in the most constructive proles had higher initial
levels of marital quality, and the transition pat-
terns of conict resolution were associated with
the change rates of marital quality for husbands,
but not for wives (Li et al., ).
e Present Study
Studies investigating couples conict resolu-
tion are scarce in Brazil. Only a few descriptive
studies about the prevalence of relationship conict
resolution strategies (Bolze, Crepaldi, Schmidt,
& Vieira, ; Costa & Mosmann, ; Garcia
& Tassara, ) or its association with variables
such as relationship quality, attachment, and
sociodemographic data (Delatorre & Wagner,
; Scheeren et al., ; Scheeren, Delatorre,
Neumann, & Wagner, ) were found in this
context. Although conict resolution in Brazil is
somewhat similar to other Western cultures, there
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DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
are probably some subtle, but important, dier-
ences in the way Brazilian couples manage their
disagreements. Qualitative studies conducted so
far indicate that couples tend to address conicts
in a friendly or indirect way but, at the same time,
show high-intensity emotions (Costa & Mosmann,
; Garcia & Tassara, ). us, it is important
to understand how couples combine dierent
strategies for managing their conicts and how
these combined strategies are associated with
marital quality.
In this research, we investigate how dierent
conict resolution strategies operate in conjunc-
tion with each other. Having the balance theory
of marriage as a base, this study sought to identify
proles of conict resolution in a southern Brazil-
ian sample of married and cohabitating couples
and to investigate relationship quality levels and
sociodemographic data associated with each pro-
le. To achieve that, we rst classied participants
based on the strategies they reported using when
resolving conicts, using Latent Prole Analysis
(), in order to identify proles in which the
combination of strategies used was relatively ho-
mogeneous across spouses. is person-centered
approach is a way to add nuanced information to
the traditional variable-centered approach (Jobe-
Shields, Andrews, Parra, & Williams, ). e
next step was to test whether relationship quality
and sociodemographic characteristics varied across
proles. In addition to mapping the prevalence of
dierent conict resolution styles in the sample,
the identication of these proles allows the ex-
ibility of conict management to be taken into
account, recognizing that resolution strategies
can be functional or dysfunctional, depending
on how they are used.
Method
Participants
e sample was composed by convenience
and included couples in a heterosexual relation-
ship and in cohabitation for at least, six months.
e sample was restricted to heterosexual couples
because relationship dynamics may dier in other
sexual orientations. All participants were recruited
in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas from
the Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Exclusion
criteria were not adopted, in order to represent
the diversity of the states population.
e participants were  heterosexual cou-
ples, which were married () or cohabitating
with the partner () for, at least, six months.
e sample age ranged from  to  years old, the
mean age was . (=.) years old, and the
mean relationship duration was . (=.)
years. Furthermore,  of the subjects were re-
married. For these, former relationship duration
was . (=.) years on average. Participants’
mean age at the beginning of the relationship was
. (=.) years old, while the mean age and
relationship duration at the birth of the rst child
were . (=.) years old, and . (=.)
years, respectively. Most partners reported working
outside the home (.) on average . hours
a day and having children (.). Within the
latter, . cohabitated with, at least, one child
and . had at least one child before marriage.
Table  presents data on education, income, and
religious practice in the sample. All the respon-
dents lived in the Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil,
with . in the metropolitan area and .
in nonmetropolitan areas (northwest, northeast,
central, and southwest), covering  of the 
cities in the state.
Most participants had middle or high school
education and income up to three minimum wages.
Nevertheless, the sample had higher education and
income when compared to the general Brazilian
population. In , only . of people between
 and  years old had an undergraduate degree,
and the mean income of the population was .
minimum wages (Instituto Brasileiro de Geograa
e Estatística, ). In addition, most participants
are religious practitioners to some extent, and more
than half the sample is concentrated at the central
categories of religious practice (low and moderate).
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Table 1
Education, Income, and Religious Practice
in the Sample
Education %a (n)
Elementary or Middle School 22.9 (343)
High School 22.7 (340)
Post-Secondary Education (incomplete) 16.7 (249)
Undergraduate Degree 19.5 (292)
Graduate Degree 18.1 (271)
Total 100 (1495)
Income %a (n)
No income 9.3 (136)
1 to 3 minimum wages* 43.5 (638)
4 to 6 minimum wages 23.3 (341)
7 or more minimum wages 23.9 (351)
Total 100 (1466)
Religion %a (n)
Catholic 65.9 (976)
Evangelical 13.3 (197)
Spiritist 7.4 (109)
Atheist/agnostic/no religion 3.6 (53)
Protestant 3.5 (52)
Other 6.3 (93)
Total 100 (1480)
Religious practice %a (n)
None 10.1 (147)
Low 34.0 (495)
Moderate 37.1 (539)
High 18.8 (274)
Total 100 (1455)
Note: a Percentage of valid answers
* Minimum wage is the minimum amount set by the Brazilian government
for the salary of regular workers. At the time of the data collection the
minimum wage was R$545.
Instruments
Data collection was part of a broader study
about romantic relationships in the Rio Grande
do Sul state, Brazil (Wagner, ). In this study,
a questionnaire containing sociodemographic
data, such as age, relationship status, education,
occupation, income, children, and religion was
applied. is questionnaire also included ques-
tions about the romantic relationship, such as
the current and former relationship duration,
the Brazilian versions of the Conict Resolution
Behavior Questionnaire () and the Golombok
Rust Inventory of Marital State (). e selec-
tion of measures took into account the available
instruments adapted for use with the Brazilian
population and the existence of adequate results
in previous studies in the country (Delatorre &
Wagner, ; Harth & Falcke, ; Neumann,
Wagner, & Remor, ; Scheeren et al., ).
e Brazilian version of the Conict Resolution
Behavior Questionnaire (; Rubenstein & Feld-
man, , adapted by Delatorre & Wagner, ) was
used to evaluate how oen certain behavior is used
in conict resolution. is adapted version contains
 items, measured in a Likert scale of ve points,
ranging from  (never) to  (always). Scale items are
distributed in three subscales: attack, composed of
seven items; compromise, consisting of six items;
and avoidance, composed of eight items. e score
is obtained by averaging the items in each subscale.
Attack refers to physical and verbal attacks towards
the spouse. Examples of items in this subscale are
“really get mad and start yelling, “say or do some-
thing to hurt the other’s feelings,” and “get sarcastic.
Avoidance refers to withdrawal from conict or
keeping feelings to oneself, measured by items such
as “clam up and hold my feeling inside,” “get cool
and distant or give the other the cold shoulder,” and
“try to avoid talking about it.” Finally, compromise
covers negotiation, joint discussion of problems
and agreement. Examples of items in this subscale
are “try to work out a compromise,” “listen to what
the other says and try to understand,” and “try to
reason” (Rubenstein & Feldman, ). Cronbach’s
alpha for attack, compromise, and avoidance in the
original scale study were ., ., and ., respectively
(Rubenstein & Feldman, ), and ., ., and .
in this study.
e Brazilian version of the Golombok Rust
Inventory of Marital State (; Rust, Bennun,
Crowe, & Golombok, , adapted by Falcke, )
was used to evaluate relationship quality, consider-
ing aspects such as satisfaction, communication,
shared interests, trust and respect between spouses.
e scale consists of  items measured in a Likert
scale varying from  (strongly disagree) to  (strongly
agree), in which  items have reversed scores. e
total score is calculated by adding up the items and,
the higher the score, the greater the relationship
98
DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
problems. Cronbach’s alpha obtained by Rust et al.
() was . for men and . for women. In this
study, Cronbachs alpha for  was ..
Procedures
Participants were recruited in schools and
institutions providing assistance to families, such
as churches, health facilities, and social services.
Individuals who agreed to participate in the study
were invited to a meeting in which the research was
explained, the Consent Form was read and signed,
and the questionnaires were administered. Data
collection occurred collectively, in small groups,
in contexts such as schools and churches. In other
contexts, such as participants’ homes, and in health
and social assistance services, data collection was
carried out individually. It is noteworthy that
participants from such services were recruited by
convenience, and are not characterized as clinical
population. e spouses answered the question-
naire separately, in order to ensure that one would
not know the answers of the other. e instruments
were stored in an envelope, which was sealed in
front of the participant, in order to guarantee the
condentiality of data. Ethical procedures regard-
ing research with human beings were followed,
according to Resolution / of the Brazilian
Ministry of Health. is research was approved
by the Research Ethics Committee of the Federal
University of Rio Grande do Sul.
Data Analysis
First, a Latent Prole Analysis () was
performed, in order to classify participants regard-
ing their resolution of relationship conicts. 
is a measurement model aimed at identifying the
smallest number of latent proles describing a set
of continuous observed variables, called indica-
tors, through multivariate regressions (Muthén
& Muthén, -). is technique has some
advantages over approaches like cluster analysis,
since  provides a goodness of t index and
estimated probabilities for group membership
(Honkaniemi, Feldt, Metsäpelto, & Tolvanen, ).
e indicators used in this analysis were the
participants’ means in each of the three 
subscales. e estimation method for model pa-
rameters was the maximum likelihood with robust
standard errors (). Several criteria were used
to determine the number of proles and evaluate
the quality of the resulting classication: entropy,
log-likelihood, Akaike Information Criterion
(), Bayesian Information Criterion (), and
Lo-Mendel-Rubin Likelihood Ratio Test (-
). Entropy evaluates the quality of resulting
classication, based on probabilities of prole
membership for each individual. Entropy values
range from  to , wherein the larger the value, the
better classication of individuals. e minimum
recommended value for the solution to be valid is
.. In turn, in the log-likelihood, the , and the
 are measures used to compare models with dif-
ferent numbers of latent proles, in which the lower
the values, the better the solution. - is also
used to compare models with dierent numbers of
latent proles, in which non-signicant p-values
(p<.) indicate that a model with one less prole
is a more parsimonious solution (Honkaniemi et
al., ). eoretical interpretability was also taken
into account when selecting the best tting model.
Aer determining the proles, analyses of
variance () were conducted to test the dif-
ferences in the conict resolution strategies across
proles, in which the four proles were the xed
factors and the strategies were the dependent
variables. en, a multivariate analysis of vari-
ance () was performed in order to verify
whether there was a dierence among groups in
terms of relationship quality and sociodemographic
data. e proles were the xed factors and the
dependent variables were age (in years), relation-
ship duration (in months), age at the beginning
of the relationship (in years), age and relationship
duration at the birth of the rst child (in years),
and hours worked per day. Partial eta squared (η²),
which is the proportion of explained variance by
one variable, excluding the variance explained by
other variables, was used as a measure of eect
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
size. e assumption of homogeneity of variances
across groups was met. Post hoc analyses, using
Games-Howell test, were performed to compare
the proles with each other. Hedges’ g was cal-
culated as a measure of eect size for post hoc
pair comparisons, according to the procedures
recommended by Lakens ().
Finally, a chi-square test was used to in-
vestigate dierences among proles in terms
of categorical sociodemographic variables. e
following variables were included in this analysis:
sex, area of residence (metropolitan or nonmetro-
politan), relationship status (marriage or cohabi-
tation), religious practice (none, low, moderate,
high), work outside home (yes or no), children
(yes or no), cohabitating children (yes or no),
premarital child (yes or no), education (elemen-
tary or middle school, high school, incomplete
post-secondary education, undergraduate degree,
graduate degree), and income (no income,  to
 minimum wages,  to  minimum wages,  or
more minimum wages).
Results
Five models were estimated with . In this
analysis, population latent proles (modeled),
explain the variability of the answers of behavior
indicators. us, the model adjustment is tested.
e model with four proles was selected based
on the comparison of the t indices (Table ).
In Table , , , and - indices
decrease in each increase in the number of proles,
while entropy increases until Model , decreasing
at Model . Even that entropy increases at Model
, - shows no statistically signicant dif-
ference between Models  and . Models  and 
present statistically signicant dierence, however,
the entropy falls below . in Model . us, tak-
ing the indices as a whole into account, the model
with  proles was considered to have the best t
to the data, as it presents good results across all
indices and is theoretically interpretable. In Table
, the means for the conict resolution strategies
are shown for each prole.
Table  shows that Prole  had the lowest
indices for all conict resolution strategies. Once
the use of all strategies was infrequent, this prole
was named Low Conict/Withdrawal. is could
mean that these spouses have low levels of con-
ict, or that they withdraw when presented with
situations with potential for conict. is prole
partially resembles Gottmans () Avoider.
Prole  showed the highest compromise level
and low levels of attack (no signicant dierence
compared to the previous prole) and avoidance.
us, it was named Validator, based on Gottmans
typology (). According to Gottman, this type
of couple usually solves conicts calmly, in a
validating and cooperative way, with low levels
of aggressive and evasive behaviors.
Table 2
Fit Indices of Latent Prole Analysis by Number of Proles Tested
Prole
number Entropy Log-
likelihood aic bic lmr-lrt
Prole size
n
(%)
2 .57 -4099.89 8219.79 8272.92 485.90* 862 (57) 638 (43)
3 .70 -4007.66 8043.32 8117.70 184.47* 751 (50) 672 (45) 77 (5)
4 .75 -3963.46 7962.92 8058.56 88.39* 45 (3) 633 (42) 80 (5) 742
(50)
5 .67 -3931.83 7907.66 8024.55 63.26* 52 (4) 52 (4) 635
(42)
329
(22)
432
(28)
6 .74 -3914.69 7881.38 8019.52 34.28 16 (1) 56 (4) 409
(27)
589
(39)
350
(24)
80
(5)
Note: *p<.01
100
DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
In contrast, Prole  had the highest level of
attack and avoidance behaviors, and a low level
of compromise. is prole was named Hostile,
characterized by unstable relationships, in which
the partners use attack and defensive behaviors
during conicts (Gottman, ).
Finally, Prole  had a high level of compro-
mise, attack, and avoidance when compared to the
other proles. Because of the high level of positive
and also negative behaviors, these participants
were named Volatile, which tends to solve conicts
intensely, both with regard to positive and negative
aspects (Gottman, ).
Next, mean dierences in proles were ana-
lyzed. A signicant multivariate eect was found,
Wilks’ Λ=., (, .)=., p<., partial
η²=.. e results are shown in Table .
All variables analyzed, except for the length
of relationship at the birth of the rst child and
labor hours per day, showed signicant dier-
ences among proles. Relationship quality was
the most diering variable, and also had the larg-
est eects sizes. Only Low Conict/Withdrawal
and Volatile proles did not dier in relationship
quality. e age of spouses in the Volatile prole
was higher than in the Hostile, and the age at
the beginning of the relationship was higher for
Validators comparing to Volatiles. e age at the
birth of the rst child was also higher for Valida-
tors than for Hostiles. Finally, relationship length
was longer for Volatiles, compared to Validators
and Hostiles. Table  shows chi-square analysis
for sociodemographic variables according to
each prole.
Table 3
Conict Resolution Strategies Means for the Total Sample and by Prole
Attack
m (sd)
Compromise
m (sd)
Avoidance
m (sd)
General sample 1.88 (0.59) 3.67 (0.72) 2.32 (0.60)
Prole 1 1.39 (0.27) 2.27 (0.42) 1.75 (0.40)
Prole 2 1.44 (0.31) 4.20 (0.50) 1.98 (0.48)
Prole 3 3.29 (0.40) 2.83 (0.61) 2.82 (0.58)
Prole 4 2.13 (0.37) 3.39 (0.53) 2.62 (0.48)
Difference among
proles
f
(3, 1496)=944.06*
f
(3, 1496)=461.33*
f
(3, 1496)=269.19*
Proles
(pair comparisons)
Mean diff
ci 95% gcl Mean diff
ci 95% gcl Mean diff
ci 95% gcl
Prole 1 2 -.049
[-.16, .06] 0.16 .55 -1.93**
[-2.10, -1.75] 3.86 .99 -0.19*
[-0.36, -0.02] 0.40 .62
3-1.90**
[-2.06, -1.74] 5.28 .95 -.56**
[-0.80, -.032] 1.02 .78 -1.07**
[-1.31, -0.84] 2.03 .93
4-.74**
[-0.84, -0.62] 2.01 .95 -1.12**
[-1.29, -0.95] 2.11 .95 -0.87**
[-1.03, -0.70] 1.82 .92
Prole 2 3 -1,85**
[-1.96, -1.74] 5.75 .99 1.36**
[1.18, 1.55] 2.64 .96 -0.88**
[-1.06, -0.70] 1.78 .88
4-.69**
[-0.73, -0.64] 2.00 .92 .81**
[0.74, 0.88] 1.55 .86 -0.67**
[-0.74, -0.61] 1.40 .84
Prole 3 4 1.16**
[1.04, 1.28] 3.11 .98 -.056**
[-0.74, -0.37] 1.03 .75 0.21*
[0.03, 0.38] 0.42 .61
Note: *p<.01, **p<.001
g=Hedges’g. cl=measure of effect size that indicates the chance that for a randomly selected pair of individuals the score of a person from Prole I is different
than the score of a person from Prole J.
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Table 4
manova of Relationship and Work Variables, for Conict Resolution Prole
Relationship quality
m (sd)
Age
m (sd)
Relationship length
m (sd)
Age beginning relations.
m (sd)
Age at rst child
m (sd)
Rel. length at rst
child
m (sd)
Labor hours/day
m (sd)
Low Conict/
Withdrawal 32.93 (8.8) 44.25 (13.7) 243.27 (149.9) 24.39 (5.1) 26.97 (6.6) 2.99 (4.6) 9.67 (3.0)
Validator 22.84 (9.4) 40.95 (11.2) 179.85 (126.1) 26.16 (7.5) 27.80 (6.0) 1.40 (6.9) 8.61 (2.1)
Hostile 39.05 (11.4) 35.80 (10.6) 148.16 (105.3) 24.03 (7.0) 24.69 (6.6) 0.50 (5.6) 8.03 (2.1)
Volatile 32.40 (9.1) 41.22 (10.7) 198.89 (122.3) 24.66 (6.2) 26.99 (5.6) 2.29 (6.1) 8.67 (2.2)
f92.21*** 3.86** 5.55** 4.85** 4.95** 2.83* 2.06
df 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
partial η² 0.232 .012 .018 0.016 0.016 0.009 .007
Proles (pair
comparisons)
Mean diff
ci 95% gci
Mean
diff ci
95%
gci
Mean
diff ci
95%
gci Mean diff
ci 95% gci
Mean
diff ci
95%
gci
Mean
diff ci
95%
gci
Mean
diff ci
95%
gci
lc/wVal
9.80***
[4.22,
15.17]
1.07 .78
2.51
[-2.79,
7.81]
1.81 .91
37.62
[-24.08,
99.32]
0.50 .63 -0.63
[-4.44, 3.18] 0.24 .58
0.99
[-2.30,
4.29]
0.14 .54
1.62
[-1.98,
5.23]
0.23 .58
1.02
[-0.27,
2.30]
0.49 .61
Hos
-7.90**
[-14.34,
-1.45]
0.57 .66
6.62*
[0.37,
12.86]
0.92 .75
62.22
[-10.48,
134.92]
0.78 .70 1.44
[-3.05, 5.92] 0.06 .52
4.10*
[0.21,
7.98]
0.04 .51
2.67
[-1.58,
6.91]
0.46 .63
1.40
[-0.12,
2.91]
0.67 .67
Vol
0.66
[-4.79,
6.10]
0.06 .52
2.23
[-3.04,
7.51]
0.83 .72
14.67
[-46.71,
76.05]
0.36 .59 1.01
[-2.78, 4.80] 0.85 .74
1.69
[-1.60,
4.97]
0,00 .50
0.67
[-2.91,
4.26]
0.12 .54
0.94
[-0.33,
2.22]
.45 .61
Val Hos
-17.59***
[-21.45,
-13.73]
1.68 .86
4.11*
[0.38,
7.85]
1.68 .86
24.60
[-18.90,
68.10]
0.25 .58 2.06
[-0.62, 4.75] 0.29 .58
3.11*
[0.78,
5.43]
0.51 .64
1.04
[-1.50,
3.59]
0.13 .54
0.38
[-0.53,
1.28]
0.28 .58
Vol
-9.04***
[-10.76,
-7.32]
1.03 .77
-0.27
[-1.94,
1.39]
1.03 .77
-22.95*
[-42.32,
-3,57]
0.15 .54 1.64*
[0.44, 2.84] 0.22 .56
0.69
[-0.34,
1.73]
0.14 .54
-0.95
[-2.08,
0.18]
0.14 .54
-0.7
[-0.48,
0.33]
0.03 .51
Hos Vol
8.55***
[4.73,
12.37]
0.71 .68
-4.39*
[-8.08,
-0.69]
0.71 .68
-47.55*
[-90.60,
-4.50]
0.42 .62 -0.42
[-3.08, 2.23] 0.10 .53
-2.42*
[-4.72,
-0.11]
0.40 .60
-1.99
[-4.51,
0.53]
0.30 .59
-0.45
[-1.35,
0.44]
0.29 .58
Note: *p<.05, **p< .01, ***p<.001
g = Hedges’g. cl=measure of effect size that indicates the chance that for a randomly selected pair of individuals the score of a person from Prole I is different than the score of a person from Prole J.
102
DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
Table 5
Chi-Square of Sociodemographic Variables According to Conict Resolution Proles
Low Conict/
Withdrawal
n
(%)
Validator
n
(%) Hostile
n
(%) Volatile
n
(%) χ²(
df
)
p
Cramer’s V
Sex Male 24 (3.2) 359 (47.9)* 22 (2.9)# 345 (46.0)# χ²(3)=31.46 >.001 .14
Female 21 (2.8) 274 (36.5)# 58 (7.7)* 397 (52.9)*
Region Metropolitan 17 (2.0)# 332 (39.3)# 45 (5.3) 451 (53.4)* χ²(3)=16.15 .001 .10
Nonmetropolitan 28 (4.3)* 301 (46.0)* 35 (5.3) 291 (44.4)#
Relationship status Married 30 (2.9) 444 (42.9) 40 (3.9)# 520 (50.3) χ²(3)=14.48 .002 .10
Cohabitating 15 (3.2) 188 (40.4) 40 (8.6)* 222 (47.7)
Religious practice
None 5 (3.4) 57 (38.8) 11 (7.5) 74 (50.3)
χ²(9)=24.97 .003 .08
Low 13 (2.6) 175 (35.4)# 28 (5.7) 279 (56.4)*
Moderate 16 (3.0) 247 (45.8)* 32 (5.9) 244 (45.3)#
High 10 (3.6) 136 (49.6)* 8 (2.9)# 120 (43.8)#
Work outside home Yes 32 (2.7) 499 (41.9) 65 (5.5) 596 (50.0) χ²(3)=2.49 .477 .04
No 12 (42.0) 126 (43.6) 13 (4.5) 138 (47.8)
Children Yes 37 (3.1) 485 (41.0) 58 (4.9) 602 ( 50.9) χ²(3)=6.43 .09 .06
No 8 (2.5) 148 (46.5) 22 (6.9) 140 (44.0)
Cohabitating children Yes 28 (2.7) 425 (40.9) 57 (5.5) 530 (51.0) χ²(3)=9.23 .026 .09
No 9 (6.1) 61 (41.2) 2 (1.4) 76 (51.4)
Premarital children Yes 3 (1.7) 76 (43.7) 14 (8.0) 81 (46.6) χ²(3)=6.53 .089 .08
No 30 (3.2) 380 (40.2) 41 (4.3) 494 (52.3)
Education
Elem/Middle 17 (5.0) 139 (40.5) 25 (7.3) 162 (47.2)
χ²(12)=28.50 .005 .08
High school 15 (4.4) 158 (46.5) 19 (5.6) 148 (43.5)
Post second. (incomplete) 3 (1.2) 99 (39.8) 16 (6.4) 131 (52.6)
Undergrad. degree 6 (2.1) 121 (41.4) 10 (3.4) 155 (53.1)
Graduate degree 2 (0.7) 116 (42.8) 10 (3.7) 143 (52.8)
Income
No income 3 (2.2) 53 (39.0) 6 (4.4) 74 (54.4)
χ²(9)=24.36 .004 .07
1 to 3 m.w. 27 (4.2)* 264 (41.4) 49 (7.7)* 298 (46.7)#
4 to 6 m.w. 8 (2.3) 155 (45.5) 14 (4.1) 164 (48.1)
7 or more m.w. 4 (1.1)#143 (40.7) 11 (3.1)#193 (55.0)*
Note: *=presence of more cases than expected according to the null hypothesis; #=less cases than expected according to the null hypothesis. Proportional differences remain signicant after level α correction with Bonferroni (α=.004).
103
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Table  shows that men were classied with
greater frequency in the Validator prole, while
more women were classied in Hostile and Volatile
proles, compared to what would be expected if
there were no dierences between groups. With
regard to religion, there were more participants
with low religious practice in Volatile prole, while
a larger number of participants who considered
themselves practitioners of any religion were
identied as Validators. Regarding the region of
residence, there were more participants in the
metropolitan area in the Volatile prole, and more
nonmetropolitan respondents in the Low Conict/
Withdrawal and the Validator proles. Relation-
ship status had an eect only for Hostiles so that
more cohabitating participants were classied in
this prole, compared to the others. Finally, there
were more respondents with an income between
one and three minimum wages in Low Conict/
Withdrawal and Hostile proles, and more par-
ticipants who earned seven or more minimum
wages in Volatile prole.
Discussion
Conict resolution is an important compo-
nent of relationship dynamics, and the abilities of
accommodation and exibility are fundamental for
the maintenance of relationship health. us, this
study aimed to identify conict resolution proles
based on strategies used by partners to solve di-
sagreements. en, the association between these
proles and relationship quality was investigated.
Conict Resolution Proles
Four conict resolution proles were iden-
tied, partially based on Gottman’s typology:
Low Conict/Withdrawal, Validator, Hostile,
and Volatile. In Gottmans typology, avoidant
couples had the lowest indices in positive and
negative interactions when compared to the
other types. Avoider couples were higher than
the others only in withdrawal. However, in this
study participants in this prole had low levels
in all conict resolution strategies. It is possible
that the method for data collection explains that
dierence. Gottman used observational data and,
thus, withdrawal and evasive behaviors could be
observed directly in couples’ interaction. In this
study, which used self-reported data, participants
who usually avoid conicts may have minimized
their occurrence, reporting low frequency for all
conict resolution strategies.
e distribution of spouses across proles
was consistent with previous qualitative studies
addressing conict resolution strategies in Brazil.
ese studies show that Brazilian couples tend to
manage disagreements in a friendly or indirect
way, but, at the same time, present high-intensity
emotions (Costa & Mosmann ; Garcia &
Tassara, ). us, it is not surprising that the
majority of spouses was classied either in the
Volatile or in the Validator proles.
Conict Resolution Proles
and Marital Quality
According to the balance theory of marriage,
the three stable subtypes, Avoider, Validator and
Volatile, have a similar probability to maintain
relationship stability (Gottman & Notarius, ).
However, the associations found between the
proles and relationship quality suggest a slightly
dierent scenario. Validator and Hostile proles
are clearly dierent from the others concerning
relationship quality. On one hand, Validators had
better relationship quality and Hostiles had more
relationship problems. On the other hand, Low
Conict/Withdrawal and Volatile proles did
not show signicant dierences between them
concerning relationship quality, suggesting that
these proles are intermediates with regard to
relationship quality.
In fact, there is evidence that the negative
eect of conict avoidance may be attenuated by
personal characteristics and by the type of motiva-
tion to adopt this strategy (Caughlin & A, )
or by usual demonstration of positive aect between
spouses (Caughlin & Houston, ). However,
frequent avoidance of conict prevents eective
104
DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
resolution, resulting in accumulated negative aect,
which tends to return in future disagreements
(Overall et al., ). us, although conict
avoidance is not always negative, using avoidance
as the main strategy brings intermediate results
concerning relationship quality.
e attack strategy, which was above the
overall mean for Volatiles, combined with inter-
mediate levels of compromise and avoidance, may
be functional in some situations. A study carried
out by Gottman and Kroko () showed that
conict involvement, even in a negative way,
can be functional in the long-term. Subsequent
studies showed that this eect is associated with
situations in which there are severe relationship
problems (McNulty & Russell, ; Overall &
McNulty, ) and in which there is a direct
confrontation between spouses (Overall et al.,
). In the same direction, the amount of in-
teraction and confrontation reported by Volatile
participants seem to be benecial at some level
since they had an average level of relationship
quality. However, the specic paths through
which the use of these strategies contributed
to the relationship quality in this sample group
should be further investigated.
us, the idea that negativity is only a pro-
blem when not balanced with positive aect and
behavior, and that avoidance is only dysfunctional
at very high levels (Gottman, ) was partially
supported by the results. Although Low Conict/
Withdrawal and Volatile proles had average rela-
tionship quality, Validator prole was associated
with greater relationship quality when compared
to all other proles. It is possible that, because Low
Conict/Withdrawal and Volatile proles depend
on a balance between positive and negative beha-
viors, the results associated with them rely more on
the context and other aspects concerning the rela-
tionship. At the other extreme, the Hostile prole
is associated with more damage in the relationship.
is result is consistent with the Balance eory
of Marriage, because the destructive behavior is
not balanced with positive interactions.
Conict Resolution Proles and
Sociodemographic Data
e fact that participants classied as Volatile
were younger at the beginning of the relationship
compared to the Validators, for example, may be
due to the developmental phase of these indivi-
duals. In fact, there is evidence that the use of
destructive strategies decreases over time (Kamp
Dush & Taylor, ). Initiating a relationship in
a less mature phase may increase the diculty
to manage negativity and modify dysfunctional
behaviors, given that young people tend to have
less ability to regulate emotions, and experience
more negative emotions compared to older people
(Carstensen et al., ). e Volatile prole was
also associated with individuals with low religious
practice, metropolitan residents, and with high
income. Low religious involvement may be related
to the average levels of attack found in this prole.
e opposite occurred in the Validator prole,
which was associated with high religious practice.
Other studies also found a connection between
religious practice and constructive resolution of
marital problems (Kusner et al., ; Rauer &
Volling, ) or lower frequency of conict (Kamp
Dush & Taylor, ). ese results are probably
associated with the fact that spouses who consider
marriage as sacred tend to make stronger eorts to
maintain positive behavior and avoid destructive
interaction (Kusner et al., ). However, further
research is needed to conrm this hypothesis.
Similarly, living in a metropolitan area usually
implies being in larger cities, where the sense of
community tends to be lower. On the one hand,
the community can be a source of support for the
couple, which may explain the association of Vali-
dator prole with nonmetropolitan residents. On
the other hand, these associations perhaps reect
the fact that belonging to a strong community may
increase the exposure to peer judgment. In addi-
tion, the accelerated pace of big cities, compared
to the calmer life in smaller cities, can contribute
to a more aggressive and immediate-result conict
resolution style, such as the Volatile prole. In
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CONFLICT RESOLUTION PROFILES AND THE QUALITY OF ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
fact, there is evidence that the association bet-
ween urbanization and low relationship quality
is moderated by social integration level so that
it exists only when there is low social integration
(Barton, Futris, & Nielsen, ). We could not
nd a theoretical explanation for the association
between income and Volatiles.
With regard to the Hostile prole, it is possible
that the association with cohabitation is related
to the lack of ritualization and formalization of
the union, which may lead to insecurity and lack
of commitment, resulting in short-term and less
constructive conict resolution strategies. However,
levels of commitment and relationship stability
were not investigated in this study and thus, it is not
possible to conrm these associations. is prole
was also associated with women, while men were
associated with the Validator prole. Some studies
show that women tend to be more involved in the
conict, while men use more avoiding and defensive
strategies (Wheeler et al., ). Men also tend to
evaluate their relationships more positively than
women, especially in self-report measures (Boerner,
Jopp, Carr, Sosinsky, & Kim, ). However, this
does not explain why men were more frequently
associated with a positive prole and, women, with
a negative prole. Further studies are needed to
clarify these results. Understanding the variables
related to the Hostile prole is fundamental, once
high levels of destructive strategies, especially
when not balance with positive behaviors, may
escalate to marital violence (Bonache et al., ;
Salazar, ).
Implications for Research and Practice
e ndings in this study have some impli-
cations for couple’s therapy and research. Analysis
of resolution proles associated with relationship
quality shows that positive interactions based on
listening, validation, cooperation, and negotia-
tion, along with a low frequency of hostile and
evasive behaviors, may serve as a model because
they are associated with high relationship quality.
However, therapists must recognize that not all
couples function in the same way. Other models
of relationship functioning, in which there is less
confrontation or in which interactions are emo-
tionally intense, for instance, may be reinforced
without harm for the relationship, depending on
individual, couple, and context characteristics. In
such cases, it is possible that the balance between
positive and negative aspects is more tenuous,
and therefore, further research is needed to in-
vestigate under what conditions this balance is
maintained, and what other variables are involved
in this process.
Limitations and Future Directions
Some limitations can be identied in this
study. e fact that the data was collected only in
one Brazilian state does not allow generalization
of results. Although the identied proles partially
replicated Gottman’s () ndings, samples from
other regions of the country should be analyzed to
verify if the results are maintained. Additionally,
self-report data has some limitations, such as the
gender bias and the fact that couples who avoid
disagreements or minimize its impact on the
relationship may report lower conict rates than
what actually occurs.
It is also worth noting that the distribution of
participants in the proles may have inuenced the
results, since  of the entire sample was comprised
in the Validator and Volatile proles. Only  of
respondents were classied in the Low Conict/
Withdrawal prole, raising the question about
whether only a small proportion of spouses had low
frequency or avoidance of conicts, or whether this
result was due to some weakness in the measuring
instrument or to some response bias. In contrast,
it seems reasonable that only  of the sample was
classied as Hostile, given that the participants
were not part of a clinical sample. Finally, because
interaction proles are formed by relationship ele-
ments, and also by spouses’ personal characteristics,
we suggest further studies to investigate the role of
individual variables, such as personality in conict
resolution and relationship quality.
106
DEPARTAMENTO DE PSICOLOGÍA FACULTAD DE CIENCIAS HUMANAS UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA
MARINA ZANELLA DELATORRE & ADRIANA WAGNER
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... It is important to notice such results, as they point to significant relations of an aspect that is under-studied, and of great relevance. Moreover, such outcome validates other studies that indicate that the positive variables of conjugality tend to articulate to higher levels of adjustment, regardless of the studied phenomenon (Costa et al., 2016;Delatorre & Wagner, 2019;. These evidences are of great relevance to clinical practice, as they can drive the focus of marital interventions. ...
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Conjugality is affected by different issues, including the use of money. This study investigated the relationship among money management, conflict resolution strategies and marital adjustment based on a structural model. The method was quantitative, cross-sectional and explanatory, including 280 Brazilian men and women in stable cohabiting relationships who answered: Sociodemographic Questionnaire, Marital Money Management Scale, Conflict Resolution Behavior Questionnaire and Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale. There was a direct link between money management and marital adjustment, and indirect partially mediated by conflict resolution strategies. The final structural model resulted in satisfactory adjustment index: Relative Chi-Square (x²/df) = 2.19, Comparative Fit Index = 0.944, Tucker Lewis Index = 0.922, Normed Fit Index = 0.904, and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = 0.065, with a 90% confidence interval (0.045–0.086). The results increase the known interaction between money management and marital relations. Cohesion and financial intimacy, mediated mainly by the absence of attacking strategies, were found to reverberate in higher levels of satisfaction within the relationship.
... Mesmo no caso da Aquarela, que avalia dimensões similares à EQC, estas são conceitualizadas e operacionalizadas de forma diferente da abordagem adotada neste estudo. No que diz respeito às estratégias de resolução de conflitos, os resultados encontrados estão de acordo com a literatura sobre o tema, indicando que estratégias construtivas, como o acordo, estão associadas à maior qualidade conjugal, enquanto estratégias destrutivas, como a evitação e o ataque, relacionam-se à menor qualidade na relação (Delatorre & Wagner, 2019;Kulik, Walfisch, & Liberman, 2016;Wagner, Mosmann, Scheeren, & Levandowski, 2019). ...
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Resumo Este estudo buscou construir e verificar evidências de validade de uma escala de avaliação da qualidade conjugal (EQC) para a população brasileira. Os itens foram avaliados por juízes especialistas e leigos. A versão preliminar da EQC consistiu em 28 itens avaliando cinco dimensões: satisfação, compromisso, intimidade, sexualidade e afetividade. A escala foi aplicada em 655 pessoas que estavam em um relacionamento amoroso e em coabitação com o(a) companheiro(a) há no mínimo seis meses. Os participantes também responderam a instrumentos sobre dados sociodemográficos, ajustamento (RDAS-P), satisfação (RelAS), qualidade (Aquarela-R) e conflito conjugal (CRBQ). Foi realizada uma análise fatorial confirmatória, análises de consistência interna e de correlação. O modelo da EQC obteve bom ajuste aos dados, consistência interna adequada e correlações nas direções esperadas com as demais escalas. Conclui-se que o instrumento apresentou evidências de validade satisfatórias, baseadas no conteúdo, estrutura interna e relações com variáveis relacionadas, para aplicação no contexto brasileiro.
... Some participants also highlighted that sometimes taking a timeout before approaching goal conflict was important suggesting that, also in line with previous research (Holley et al., 2013), avoidance, as long as temporary, may be a successful long-term strategy for negotiating goal conflict. These techniques have been noted in previous prepandemic research (e.g., Delatorre & Wagner, 2019) which suggests conflict negotiation appears to have been largely unchanged despite the pandemic. Together, both quantitative and qualitative results provide evidence of the importance of negotiating goal conflict in relationships that we would expect to be relevant during and beyond the current global health crisis. ...
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When romantic partners’ personal goals conflict, this can negatively affect personal goal outcomes, such as progress. In a concurrent mixed methods study, we investigated whether goal conflict and negation of goal conflict were associated with goal outcomes (progress, confidence, motivation) and what strategies partners used during the COVID-19 pandemic to negotiate goal conflict. Survey participants ( n = 200) completed a daily diary for a week and weekly longitudinal reports for a month and interview participants ( n = 48) attended a semi-structured interview. Results showed that higher goal conflict was associated with lower goal outcomes, and successful negotiation of goal conflict was associated with better goal outcomes. Qualitative analyses identified three goal conflict negotiation strategies (compromise, integration, concession). Conversations focused on both practical and emotional needs and included respectful communication and space from conflict (timeout or avoidance). The mixed methods results suggest that goal conflict was low during the pandemic and participants were often able to negotiate goal conflict resulting in better goal outcomes.
... We are aware of no studies that have examined whether successful negotiation of goal conflict predicts support in romantic relationships. However, previous research examining how couples resolve general conflicts has found that more successful negotiation predicts greater relational well-being (Delatorre & Wagner, 2019;Kurdek, 1995). Given that successful negotiation of conflict predicts better outcomes and may enable partners to be more supportive, we expect that negotiation of goal conflict will be positively associated with perception of RC support and negatively associated with perception of anti-RC support (H2). ...
Thesis
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Based on attachment theory, the theory of thriving through relationships describes the interpersonal process of relational catalyst (RC) support (i.e., emotional or practical support that is responsive to the recipient’s needs) for life’s opportunities in the absence of adversity. While existing literature is clear that partner support positively predicts goal outcomes overall, relatively little is known about by how much, for whom, in which kinds of relationships, and under what conditions partner support is beneficial for goal outcomes. I investigate these research questions in this six-paper thesis. I begin by evaluating the existing literature in a meta-analysis (Manuscript 1). I establish that partner support moderately and positively predicts goal outcomes. Responsive and practical support were equally effective providing support for the theory of thriving through relationships. In Manuscript 2, I use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to identify the most important individual (attachment avoidance, well-being) and relational (relationship satisfaction, trust, commitment, empathy) predictors of partner support. Manuscript 3 focuses on the link between goal conflict and the RC support process (seeking, perceiving, and providing support as well as pursuing life’s opportunities). In three studies, I show that high goal conflict is a strong negative predictor of all parts of the RC support process. The final three manuscripts extend the thriving through relationships framework by showing that RC support can still be beneficial even in the presence of adversity (COVID-19). Manuscript 4 shows that RC support is effective for goal outcomes during the pandemic. I also show that goal conflict is negatively associated and successful negotiation of goal conflict positively associated with partner support (Manuscript 5) and goal outcomes (Manuscript 6). Together these studies provide robust evidence for the importance of partner support for goal outcomes and highlight several individual, relational, and contextual factors that predict the effectiveness of the support.
... We are aware of no studies that have examined whether successful negotiation of goal conflict predicts support in romantic relationships. However, previous research examining how couples resolve general conflicts has found that more successful negotiation predicts greater relational well-being (Delatorre & Wagner, 2019;Kurdek, 1995). Given that successful negotiation of conflict predicts better outcomes and may enable partners to be more supportive, we expect that negotiation of goal conflict will be positively associated with perception of RC support and negatively associated with perception of anti-RC support (H2). ...
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... We are aware of no studies that have examined whether successful negotiation of goal conflict predicts support in romantic relationships. However, previous research examining how couples resolve general conflicts has found that more successful negotiation predicts greater relational well-being (Delatorre & Wagner, 2019;Kurdek, 1995). Given that successful negotiation of conflict predicts better outcomes and may enable partners to be more supportive, we expect that negotiation of goal conflict will be positively associated with perception of RC support and negatively associated with perception of anti-RC support (H2). ...
Preprint
Due to the pandemic, people have been stuck indoors with their partners for months. Instead of being able to rely on multiple sources of support, many couples have to rely on each other more. We investigated whether goal conflict, successful negotiation of the conflict, and individual differences in attachment styles were associated with partner support to understand factors that may enable or hinder goal pursuit during the pandemic. Participants (n=200) completed a daily diary for a week and weekly longitudinal reports for five weeks. Results showed that higher goal conflict was associated with perception of less relational catalyst (RC) support and more anti-RC support from partner, whereas more successful negotiation of goal conflict was associated with higher RC support and lower anti-RC support. Negotiation of goal conflict also partially mediated the association between goal conflict and support. Attachment avoidance was directly associated with less support whereas attachment anxiety moderated the relationship between goal conflict and support. Implications for partner support during the pandemic are discussed.
... It may be explained by the assumption that there are at least two different intentions of avoiding from conflicts. Some married individuals may avoid conflict in order to protect the relationships and mask their negative feelings whereas others to distance themselves from the relationship and stay emotionally unavailable (Delatorre & Wagner, 2019). Therefore, a comprehensive explanation can be provided in the future when considering this behaviour in interaction with the intention of the withdrawing spouse and the attribution of partner to this behaviour. ...
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The aim of the study was to examine the mediating role of marital adjustment on the relationship between conflict resolution styles and marital satisfaction in terms of actor and partner effects. It was hypothesized that the marital adjustment mediates the effect of conflict resolution styles on marital satisfaction. One hundred and fifty-five married couples participated in the study. Conflict Resolution Styles Inventory, Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, and Relationship Satisfaction Scale were used to collect the data. The hypotheses were tested using Actor Partner Interdependence Model (Kenny et al., 2006 Kenny, D. A., Kashy, D. A., & Cook, W. L. (2006). Dyadic data analysis. The Guilford Press.[Crossref] , [Google Scholar]). According to the results, both wives’ and husbands’ positive problem-solving styles predicted their own marital satisfaction via marital adjustment. In addition, husbands’ positive and negative problem-solving styles predicted both their own and their wives’ marital satisfaction through marital adjustment.
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Conflicts are an inevitable part of romantic partnerships. During a conflict, partners make use of various means of conflict resolution. This research aims to determine how students assess the frequency of using different styles of conflict resolution in their romantic partnerships and whether there are gender differences in this regard. Furthermore, the research aims at examining whether there is a correlation between the experience of self-esteem on one hand, and the styles and effectiveness of conflict resolution on the other hand, in students’ romantic partnerships. The research was conducted through an online survey on a sample of 157 students (101 female and 56 male students). The following measuring instruments were used in the research: Conflict Resolution Styles Inventory (Kurdek 2001), Conflicts and Problem-solving Scales (Kerig 2001), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg 1965, cited in Blažeka 2002). The results showed that in students’ romantic partnerships the most common style of conflict resolution is focused on positive problem solving, while the least common style is compliance. Gender differences in the frequency of using different styles of resolving conflict among romantic partners have not been identified. It found that persons with a higher level of self-esteem are more likely to use positive problem solving, and less likely to use the styles of compliance, withdrawal, and conflict engagement. It confirmes also that persons with a higher level of self-esteem are more likely to experience effective resolution of conflicts with romantic partners.
Thesis
Full-text available
Olumlu çocukluk yaşantıları, olumlu çatışma çözme stilleri, olumsuz çatışma çözme stilleri, boyun eğme, geri çekilme, Positive childhood experiences, positive conflict resolution style, negative conflict resolution style, subordination, retreat
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This study investigated the dyadic associations between personality, social support, conflict resolution strategies, and marital quality. The participants were 244 mixed‐gender Brazilian couples. We tested a model in which personality traits and social support were predictors of conflict resolution strategies that, in their turn, predicted marital quality at the intrapersonal and interpersonal level using an Actor‐Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). The results showed that conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and social support were the most important predictors of conflict resolution strategies, followed by openness. These strategies were also associated with marital quality at the intrapersonal and interpersonal level. This study provides insights about individual and contextual areas that may be targeted for interventions with couples.
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Abstract Relationship education programs are strategies that can favor better marital quality and conflict management between spouses. The relationship education program “Living as Partners: Turning Challenges into Opportunities” seeks to promote the couples’ learning of conflict resolution strategies and better quality levels in the relationship. This study evaluates the capacity of this program to produce results regarding marital quality and three dimensions of the couple’s conflict: frequency, intensity, and resolution strategies. Data from 41 couples were analyzed before and after the program, and a follow-up after 5 months (n = 33 couples) were conducted as well (single group, pre-test, post-test, and follow-up quasi-experimental design). Results show that the program produced immediate effects in all the outcome variables, which remained significant after 5 months, except for marital quality and for the strategy of compliance. These outcomes showed effect sizes ranging from low to high levels. The study presents evidence about the ability of the “Living as Partners” program to produce improvements in couple’s conflict indicators, addressing an unexplored field of research and intervention focused on Brazilian cultural specificities.
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