The impact of family communication patterns on young adults' conflict styles with their parents

Deepinder Kaur Janeja, University of Rhode Island


The family is an important agent for socialization. Among the many things that individuals learn and develop in the family, of crucial importance is conflict management. The conflict management styles, used and developed over time during conflict in the family, are carried into relationships and settings outside the family. It has been widely known that the emotional and behavioral development in the family influences how individuals deal with social psychological issues such as social adjustment, depression, anxiety, substance use and so on. Although conflict is one among several important functions of a family, inadequate and/or improper handling of conflict could lead to dysfunctional families and individuals. Extensive research has been conducted in the area of family conflict and communication. In particular, there has been some research on family communication patterns and conflict management styles in the family. The current study sought to examine similarities and differences between how young adults handle conflict with their fathers and their mothers. It further examined the impact of those conflict management styles on young adults’ perceptions of relationship satisfaction with each parent. Hypotheses from a previous study on young adults and their fathers were re-tested. Mother-young adult conflict and communication patterns were examined for the first time. Results indicated that family communication patterns impact conflict management with both fathers and mothers. By and large, communication patterns predicted similar conflict styles for fathers and mothers. However, some important differences were revealed, including that young adults tend to avoid conflict with their fathers more than with their mothers, and are more satisfied using collaboration and compromising with their mothers while they are more satisfied using collaboration and accommodation with their fathers. An interesting and surprising finding was that although relationships with high conversation orientation were predominant, young adults are using more accommodation with their parents than before. The implications, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Communication|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Deepinder Kaur Janeja, "The impact of family communication patterns on young adults' conflict styles with their parents" (2011). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1491463.