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01-01-2011 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2011

Developmental Changes in Conflict Resolution Styles in Parent–Adolescent Relationships: A Four-Wave Longitudinal Study

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2011
Auteurs:
Muriel D. Van Doorn, Susan J. T. Branje, Wim H. J. Meeus

Abstract

In this study, changes in three conflict resolution styles in parent–adolescent relationships were investigated: positive problem solving, conflict engagement, and withdrawal. Questionnaires about these conflict resolution styles were completed by 314 early adolescents (M = 13.3 years; 50.6% girls) and both parents for four consecutive years. Adolescents’ reported use of positive problem solving increased with mothers, but did not change with fathers. Fathers reported an increase of positive problem solving with adolescents, whereas mothers reported no change. Adolescents’ use of conflict engagement was found to temporarily increase with mothers, but showed no change with fathers. Mothers and fathers reported a decrease in conflict engagement with adolescents. Adolescents’ use of withdrawal with parents increased, although this increase was temporarily with mothers. Mothers reported no change in withdrawal, whereas fathers’ use of withdrawal increased. Generally, we found that both adolescents and their parents changed in their use of conflict resolution from early to middle adolescence. These results show that conflict resolution in parent–adolescent relationships gradually change in favor of a more horizontal relationship.

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