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Title: Putting it in reverse: How communal relationships are pulled back into exchange norms by conflict.
Authors: Richmond, Rakefet Yaakoba
Issue Date: 19-Apr-2012
Abstract: There is a body of research suggesting that conflict affects individual's behavior and cognitions in a close relationship(eg,Baucom & Adams, 1987; Forgas 1994). Previous research found that individuals in close relationships adjust behavior and attributions depending on the presence or absence of conflict (eg Gottman,1979,1994). The current study examined if conflict led individuals to make dispositional (as opposed to situational) attributions and follow exchange (as opposed to communal) norms. Participants included 215 students who worked on a "joint" task with one of three types of partners: (a)significant other; (b)close friend, or (c)stranger. The first two represent standard examples of communal relationships, while the third provided a baseline for an exchange relationship. Communal relationship participants were randomly assigned to either conflict or no-conflict manipulation groups and their behavior was observed and scores based on their tendency to display communal norms and presence or absence of attributional bias. It was predicted that participants in non-conflict, communal conditions would downplay their contribution to a joint task (following communal norms), whereas those interacting with strangers would emphasize personal contributions more than those in no-conflict, communal conditions (displaying regression from communal toward exchange norms). It was anticipated that findings would contribute to the understanding of the role of conflict in the dissolution of close relationships. Nevertheless, only the first hypothesis was partially supported, putting into question whether conflict, by itself is a causal factor in relationship quality and disssolution. Procedural and sampling limitations, as well as theoretical and clinical implications, are presented.
In Collections:Psychology

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