Married couples' conflict responses and marital quality

Carl A. Ridley, Mari S. Wilhelm, Catherine A. Surra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


In order to further our understanding of conflict within a marital relationship, this study had two purposes: (i) to identify married couples' conflict response profiles, and (ii) to relate these conflict profiles to appraisals of marital quality. Spouses in 173 intact married couples completed a questionnaire that included measures of a sample of aggressive, withdrawing, and problem-solving responses occurring during conflict episodes, and indices of marital quality. Cluster analyses of married dyads' conflict responses generated four conceptually interesting profiles - two symmetrical ('distancing couples' and 'engaging couples') and two asymmetrical ('distancing husbands' and 'distancing wives'). Results indicated that couples who endorse different conflict profiles could be distinguished according to their level of marital adjustment. The advantages to understanding conflict responses within a marriage by studying the couple as the unit of analysis were highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-534
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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