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The Complex Nature of Family Conflict: Power, Effectiveness, and Context


The Complex Nature of Family Conflict: Power, Effectiveness, and Context

Della Porta, Sandra (2014) The Complex Nature of Family Conflict: Power, Effectiveness, and Context. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The process of socialization that occurs through relationship interactions plays a crucial role in children’s development (Parke & Buriel, 2006). Further, it has been argued that interactions that involve more than two individuals (i.e., polyadic interactions) should be considered as a basic interaction unit (Minuchin, 1985; Sameroff, 1983). As such, this set of studies center around family members’ use of power in polyadic family conflict during early childhood. Specifically, three manuscripts focus on (a) family members’ use of power tactics as they vary by individual and relationship contexts, (b) power effectiveness as it is assessed by two means, microscopically (i.e., conflict process) and macroscopically (i.e., win-lose outcome), and (c) conflict context variables, including conflict role, topic, and social domain. These topics were studied using transcripts from previously collected data on naturalistic family interactions in the home setting (Ross, Filyer, Lollis, Perlman, & Martin, 1994). In the present set of studies, the sample consisted of 210 polyadic family conflict sequences from 35/39 families consisting of two siblings, approximately 4- and 6-years of age, and their parents. Behavioural coding was implemented to quantitatively account for power behaviours, power move effectiveness, and conflict context variables (see Appendix). Results are discussed in light of previous research with a particular focus on future research recommendations considering the novelty and complexity of these three studies. When studying polyadic family conflict, these studies provide (a) a strong support for taking the individual and relationship contexts into account, (b) confirmation of variability in
individuals’ ability to effectively influence others, and (c) initial insight into how the conflict context variables come into play during polyadic interactions. Taken together, this program of research allows for a deeper understanding of children’s development through informal family interactions in the home setting.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Della Porta, Sandra
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:5 December 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Howe, Nina
ID Code:978413
Deposited On:12 Jun 2014 19:47
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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