The Role of Power in Conflict in Adult Close Relationships
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Past research has shown that conflict occurs regularly in close relationships and has significant implications for relationship wellbeing. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of perceived power in conflict resolution in romantic relationships. The study examined the power, relationship satisfaction, and conflict behaviors of 37 dating couples. Participants provided ratings of power and relationship satisfaction, and then participated in a 6-minute videotaped conflict discussion, which was systematically observed and coded for both positive and negative conflict behaviors. Results indicated that individuals with high perceived power demonstrated less positive and more negative affect during conflict. Furthermore, results demonstrated that perceived power equality versus inequality is associated with a number of behavioral tendencies during conflict, and gender is a significant moderator of these associations. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.