The present study aimed to compare the frequency with which adolescents’ used different conflict resolution styles in their three close relationships (mother, father and best friend); to examine the associations among adolescents’ conflict resolution styles in these relationships and the links between conflict resolution styles and life satisfaction.
The participants were adolescents (N = 854; aged 11–19 years), from six secondary schools in a metropolitan city in Turkey, who completed self-report questionnaires.
In conflicts with their parents, adolescents used constructive styles (problem solving and compliance) more often than dysfunctional styles (withdrawal and conflict engagement). Problem solving was the most frequently used strategy in conflicts with a best friend, followed by conflict engagement, withdrawal, and compliance. Path analysis indicated a strong association between the strategies used to resolve conflicts with parents and with one’s best friend, χ2 = 6.45, df = 6, p = 0.38, CFI/TLI = 1/0.999, RMSEA = 0.007. Across all three relationships problem solving was positively linked to life satisfaction, whereas withdrawal and conflict engagement were negatively linked to life satisfaction, χ2 = 25.234, df = 24, p = 0.39, CFI/TLI = 0.999/0.999, RMSEA = 0.006.
There were similarities and differences in the conflict resolution strategies used in the different relationships, which provide support for the social problem solving model as well as for the contextual view of conflict resolution. The findings also underline the importance of constructive conflict resolution to the wellbeing of adolescents and point to the importance of conflict resolution training.