Adolescents’ Conflict Resolution with Their Parents and Best Friends: Links to Life Satisfaction

Abstract

Objective

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Acknowledgements

Funding

The author received funding from The Scientific and Technological Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) (Grant #115K324).

Author Contributions

A.D.G.: designed and executed the study, conducted the analyses and wrote the paper. A.D.G. collected the data with the aid of research assistants Alp Aytuğlu, Orhan Gelmedi, Nadide Işıklılar, Sevde Kocatürk, Merve Özgüle, Aylin Sever and Gülşah Yavuz. The author is grateful to the assistants for their help with data collection. Data will be available upon reasonable request from databrary.

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Correspondence to Ayfer Dost-Gözkan.

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Ethical procedures: All procedures performed in the study which involved human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The ethics approval was obtained from The Board of Research Ethics at Ozyegin University.

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Dost-Gözkan, A. Adolescents’ Conflict Resolution with Their Parents and Best Friends: Links to Life Satisfaction. J Child Fam Stud 28, 2854–2866 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-019-01465-x

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