ERIC Number: ED301804
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Conflict in Families of Adolescents: The Impact on Cohesion and Power Structures.
Gehring, Thomas M.; And Others
Family-related conflict has been a central focus of theory as well as research on adolescent development, both with respect to the characteristics of nature of conflict and the influence it has on adaptational outcomes. Conflict in families of adolescents was studied by examining three characteristics of family conflict (locus, content, and frequency) and changes in family cohesion and power in response to conflict. Using a clinically derived figure placement technique, 460 subjects including parents and 11- to 20-year-old adolescents represented their family twice, as it was typically and in an important conflict situation. Subjects were also interviewed about the nature of the conflict. At a descriptive level, conflict in both marital and parent-adolescent dyads was frequently reported, and conflict over deviant behavior was described in addition to more mundane issues. Across adolescence, reports of parent-adolescent conflict increased, especially those related to autonomy. In general, conflict decreased cohesion and changed power relations in the representations of family structure. In particular, compared to others, conflict in the marital dyad was related to decreased cohesion and increased cross-generational coalitions, whereas conflict between mothers and adolescents was related to shifts in power. Both cross-generational coalitions and reverse power hierarchies were portrayed more often in conflict concerning deviant behavior. No gender differences were found. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence (2nd, Alexandria, VA, March 25-27, 1988).