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J Adolesc. 2008 Dec;31(6):671-90. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Nov 6.

Within-family conflict behaviors as predictors of conflict in adolescent romantic relations.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Severance Laboratory, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 44074, USA.


Continuity in conflict behaviors from (a) adolescents' behavior with parents and their behavior with romantic partners and (b) from parents' marriage to adolescents' romantic relationships were examined in a sample of 58 mother-father-adolescent families and the adolescents' romantic partners. The social relations model was used to analyze within-family reports of own and partner conflict behavior. Mother-father consensus about adolescents' use of physical aggression was associated with romantic partners' reports of adolescents' physical aggression. Less functional behaviors observed during observed marital conflict were associated with a range of less functional conflict behaviors in adolescents' observed interactions with romantic partners, including withdrawal, verbal aggression, negativity, ineffective problem solving, and low cohesion. Within-family conflict and methodological issues in the use of partner and self-reports of conflict behaviors are discussed.

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