Resolution of disagreements between romantic partners, among adolescents, and young adults: Qualitative analysis of interaction discourses

Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Shmuel Shulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study was designed to explore qualitatively developmental differences in disagreement negotiation and resolution skills between adolescent and young adult romantic partners. Twenty adolescent and 20 young adult couples participated in the study. The Knox inventory was used to measure the level of disagreement between partners on ten domains (e.g., friends or money). Partners were asked to discuss and resolve their greatest disagreement. Joint discussions were recorded and transcribed. A qualitative analysis of interactions revealed major differences between the two age groups, in discussion management and in strategies for resolution. Adolescents' interactions were concrete, concise, and brief. Their resolution of disagreements was based on superficial agreements or coercion of one partner. Young adults' interactions were more rich and developed, disagreements were understood as metaphors for the relationship, and resolution was accomplished by the two partners as a result of discussion. These differences are discussed in light of the theories on the development of romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-588
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

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