Perceptions of constructive and destructive conflict within and across family subsystems
Article first published online: 27 NOV 2003
Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Infant and Child Development
Volume 12, Issue 5, pages 441–459, December 2003
How to Cite
Rinaldi, C. M. and Howe, N. (2003), Perceptions of constructive and destructive conflict within and across family subsystems. Inf. Child Develop., 12: 441–459. doi: 10.1002/icd.324
- Issue published online: 27 NOV 2003
- Article first published online: 27 NOV 2003
Family members' (mothers, fathers, siblings) perceptions of the frequency and types of constructive and destructive conflict strategies used within and across the three family subsystems (marital, parent–child, sibling) were investigated. Participants included 60 fifth- and sixth-grade, middle-class white children, their closest-in-age sibling, and both parents. Each family member rated their perceptions of conflict resolution strategies employed in marital, parent–child, and sibling relationships. Overall, family members demonstrated agreement on the frequency and types of conflict within the three family subsystems and generally reported employing similar conflict tactics across different subsystems. Additionally, parent–child conflict strategies were partially linked to both constructive and destructive sibling and marital conflict. These results are best understood in light of both the shared family perspective view and the spillover hypothesis of family dynamics (Margolin et al., 1996; Minuchin, 1988). Implications for examining conflict strategies within and across subsystems are discussed within the context of recent theory on family functioning. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.