Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Family Conflicts

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_997

Definition

Family conflict refers to active opposition between family members. Because of the nature of family relationships, it can take a wide variety of forms, including verbal, physical, sexual, financial, or psychological. Conflicts may involve different combinations of family members: it can be conflict within the couple or between parents and children or, again, between siblings.

All interpersonal conflicts, whether they occur between family members, romantic partners, or groups, have certain elements in common. One of the popular definitions of conflict offered by Coser (1956) asserts that conflict is a “struggle over values and claims to scarce status, power, and resources in which the aims of the opponents are to neutralize, injure or eliminate the rival” (p. 8).

In 1973, Deutsch maintained that conflict “exists whenever incompatible activities occur… an action which prevents, obstructs, interferes with, injures or in some way makes (resolution) less likely or less...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Boardman, S. K., & Horowitz, S. V. (1994). Constructive conflict management and social problems: An introduction. Journal of Social Issues, 50(1), 1–12.Google Scholar
  2. Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  3. Coser, L. A. (1956). The functions of social conflict. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Deutsch, M. (1973). The resolution of conflicts: Constructive and destructive processes. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Eisenberg, A. R. (1992). Conflicts between mothers and their young children. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 38, 21–43.Google Scholar
  6. Glasl, F. (1997). Konfliktmanagement. Ein handbuch für führungskräfte, beraterinnen und berater. Bern-Stuttgar, Germany: Paul Haupt-Freies Geistesleben.Google Scholar
  7. Gottman, J. M., & Katz, L. F. (1989). Effects of marital discord on children's peer interaction and health. Developmental Psychology, 25, 373–381.Google Scholar
  8. Gugliemetti, C., Iafrate, R., & Lanz, M. (1997). Stili ed esiti di conflitto coniugale: differenze di genere e di prospettiva [Styles and outcomes of conjugal conflict: Differences in gender and perspective]. Archivio di Psicologia, Neurologia e Psichiatria [Archive of psychology, neurology and psychiatry], 58, 599–610.Google Scholar
  9. Honess, T. M., Charman, E. A., Zani, B., Cicognani, E., Xerri, M. L., Jackson, A. E., & Bosma, H. A. (1997). Conflict between parents and adolescents: Variation by family constitution. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15, 367–385.Google Scholar
  10. Laursen, B., & Collins, W. A. (1994). Interpersonal conflict during adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 197–209.Google Scholar
  11. Margolin, G. (1988). Marital conflict is not marital conflict is not marital conflict. In R. D. V. Peters & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Social learning and systems approaches to marriage and family (pp. 193–216). New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  12. Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family processes. Eugene, OR: Castalia.Google Scholar
  13. Pruitt, D. G. (1981). Negotiation behavior. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  14. Pruitt, D. G., & Rubin, J. Z. (1986). Social conflict: Escalation, stalemate, and settlement. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  15. Scabini, E. (1995). Psicologia sociale della famiglia [Family social psychology]. Torino, Italy: Bollati Boringhieri.Google Scholar
  16. Scabini, E., & Greco, O. (1999). La transizione alla genitorialità, [The transition to parenthood]. In M. Andolfi (Ed.), La crisi di coppia [The marriage crisis]. Milano: Cortina.Google Scholar
  17. Shantz, C. U., & Hobart, C. J. (1989). Social conflict and development: Peers and siblings. In T. J. Berndt & G. W. Ladd (Eds.), Peer relationships in child development (pp. 71–94). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  18. Van de Vliert, E., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (1994). Optimizing performance by stimulating conflict. International Journal of Conflict Management, 5, 211–222.Google Scholar
  19. Wallace, H. (1996). Family violence: legal, medical and social perspectives. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  20. White, L. (2001). Sibling relationships over the life course: A panel analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63, 555–568.Google Scholar
  21. Widmer, E. D. (1999). Les relations fraternelles des adolescents. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  22. Widmer, E. D. (2010). Family configurations. A structural approach to family diversity. London: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Wilmot, W. W., & Hocker, J. L. (2007). Interpersonal conflict. Boston: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversitá Catolica Del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly