Conflict in Personal Relationships

Conflict in Personal Relationships

Conflict in Personal Relationships

Conflict in Personal Relationships


In keeping with a broad conception of interpersonal conflict, this book is organized into two parts. The first focuses on conflict on different types of couple relationships -- homosexual, cross cultural, dating but violent, engaged, and married -- and group relationships -- student peers, parents and their young children, and adult children and their aging parents. The chapters not only review past research on conflict in some relationships, but also take a significant step forward in introducing a variety of other relationship types for future research on conflict. These chapters also offer evidence that conflict is experienced differently in different types of interpersonal relationships.

The second part of this book describes basic underlying principles and programs for dealing with interpersonal conflicts. Chapters in this section discuss patterns of argument in everyday life, issues associated with competence in interpersonal conflict, and mediation as a form of intervention for resolution.


This volume focuses on a particular aspect of personal relationships that is becoming increasingly important -- interpersonal conflict. Although numerous studies on interpersonal conflict appear in several related disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, communication, and family studies), the research literature is extensive, varied, and confusing because it reflects different orientations to doing research, uses different types of measures, and is often written in a jargon unique to a particular discipline. In an attempt to organize and explain the research literature such that researchers in one discipline may benefit from the work in other disciplines, I previously edited Intimates in Conflict: A Communication Perspective (Cahn, 1990) and explained how the research literature could be organized according to the type of conflict communication studied. Later, in Conflict in Intimate Relationships (Cahn, 1992), I included more on theory and research methods and organized the theoretical research according to relevant research approaches, each with its own theories, definition of conflict, and research methods.

In this volume, I include different types of personal relationships as yet another way to look at research on interpersonal conflict. Although all three of my books deal with the subject of interpersonal conflict, they are different from one another and describe ways of organizing the research that are useful in their own way, but, if taken together, the books are complementary and offer a more comprehensive understanding of multidisciplinary research on the subject.

Essentially, this is a book in which scholars reflect on the research in their area of expertise and practitioners take time from their busy schedules to . . .

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