AuthorStern, Lesa Ann.
Committee ChairBurgoon, Judee K.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis investigation presents a model to explain patterns of confrontation within relationships, with a special focus on friendships. Although much research assesses conflict strategies and their corresponding outcomes, few: (a) are theoretically driven, (b) pay any attention to the initial stages of conflict, (c) acknowledge that expressed conflict does not represent the entire spectrum of experienced conflict, or (d) focus on adult friendship conflict. A communication based framework in which to examine confrontation patterns between friends is presented in this investigation. This confrontational model proposes that grievance responses differ according to friends' interdependence level, costs and benefits of confrontation, and communication goals operating in a given interaction. Communication goals included in this study are social influence attempts, relational maintenance, and emotional expression. It is proposed that friends attempt to minimize negative interactions with their friends and therefore primarily use tolerance and avoidance strategies when dealing with grievances. Only when friends are highly interdependent, extremely frustrated, see few costs as a result of being verbally direct, and believe their friend is willing to change will they use confrontational strategies. Fifty-two respondents (24 students, 28 community members) participated in a three week study of grievance management in friendships. Respondents selected a casual to close friend upon which to base their participation in the study. They subsequently completed grievance management measures (assessing their interactions with this particular friend) twice a week for three weeks. Thirty-eight respondents experienced one or more grievances during the three weeks, providing data for the test of the confrontational model. The confrontational model presented in this investigation was partially supported. Results indicate that anticipated negative consequences of confrontation and partners' willingness or ability to change their behavior are related to confrontation. There was a trend toward greater overall interdependence and confrontation, while greater cognitive interdependence between friends was significantly associated with confrontation. The best predictor of confrontation was anticipated negative consequences; fewer anticipated negative consequences was associated with confrontation.