Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Family Conflict in Couple and Family Therapy

  • CJ Eubanks Fleming
  • Melinda Ippolito MorrillEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_445


Family conflict is often the main reason for entry into couple or family therapy and is typically a key target for intervention. Conflict in couples and families can center on different issues, such as child behavior, substance use or mental health, partner work/life stress, finances, division of household responsibilities, intimacy and sexual relationships, or infidelity. However, the specific topic of conflict is commonly understood to be less significant than the nature of the families’ conflictual pattern around different topic areas.

Family conflict at high levels has deleterious effects on all family members. For example, family conflict has been consistently linked with individual mental health difficulties including depression, substance abuse, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and antisocial behavior (Whisman and Uebelacker 2009). Long-term marital and family conflict is also negatively related to individuals’ physical health such that persistent conflict...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • CJ Eubanks Fleming
    • 1
  • Melinda Ippolito Morrill
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Elon UniversityElonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Farrah Hughes
    • 1
  • Allen Sabey
    • 2
  1. 1.Employee Assistance ProgramMcLeod HealthFlorenceUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA