The relationship between conflict and communication, sex, relationship satisfaction, and other relational variables in dating relationships
Zacchilli, Tammy Lowery
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Whether couples have been dating a few months or have been married for many years, conflict is likely an inevitable part of the relationship. According to Canary, Cupach, and Messman (1995), how couples handle conflict informs other areas of their relationship, such as how satisfied they are in their relationship. Thus, when examining other relational variables it is important to understand how individuals approach conflict with their partner. In Study 1, the relationships between three conflict strategies (i.e., compromise, emotional reactivity, interactional reactivity) and other variables such as satisfaction, respect, sexual attitudes, and self-disclosure were assessed. In Study 2, items for a new conflict scale, the Romantic Partner Conflict Scale (RPCS; 39 items), were developed and subjected to a factor analysis. Six factors emerged: Compromise, Domination, Submission, Separation, Avoidance, and Interactional Reactivity. The relationships between these six strategies and respect, commitment, and satisfaction were assessed. The goals of Study 3 were to confirm the factor structure of the RPCS and to relate the six subscales to self-disclosure, sex, commitment, love, satisfaction, and respect. Confirmatory factor analyses tested two, three, five, and six factor models. The six factor model resulted in the best fitting model. Alphas for the subscales ranged from .84 to .96 and the subscales correlated appropriately with the other relational variables. Implications for this new conflict scale, as well as limitations of the studies, are discussed.
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