Young Adult Perceptions of Egalitarianism in their Families of Origin: An Examination of Conflict Style, Locus of Control, and Psychological Distress in Young Adult Relationships
AdvisorSegrin, Chris G
Committee ChairSegrin, Chris G
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study addressed the possible change in young adult attitudes toward family dynamics due to the shift from traditionalism to egalitarianism in recent decades. More specifically, it sought to explore young adult perceptions' of their parents' relational ideology (e.g., degree of traditionalism), and whether young adults perceived their relational ideology to be similar to their parents' ideology. It was predicted that high levels of traditionalism in young adults would be associated with low levels of relational efficacy, as defined by conflict styles and feelings of internal control over relationships. Social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2001) posits that children learn behavior modeled by parents, particularly behaviors that are rewarded. Hence, with the increase in more egalitarian attitudes modeled by parents, this study sought to determine the extent to which young adults are now acquiring and implementing primarily egalitarian rather than traditional attitudes. A path analysis revealed significant associations between parents' degree of traditionalism and offspring traditionalism, as well as significant associations between parents' degree of traditionalism and their distributive and integrative conflict styles. Further, young adult conflict strategies were associated with parents' conflict strategies, and were significantly associated with their internal locus of control. High levels of traditionalism in young adult women were negatively associated with their internal locus of control and positively associated with their psychological distress. It appears that women perceived their parents as more egalitarian, and used conflict styles more conducive to egalitarian relationships relative to men.