Managing a romantic partner's identity in a conflict situation: Social cognitive ability and the definition of the situation
AuthorWeger, Harry, Walter, 1963-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is to give a constructivist account of conflict message production in romantic relationships. Two main claims are advanced. First, the degree to which partners confirm each other's identity in conflict situations results from their definition of the situation. Second, those with more sophisticated systems for construing others have more integrated and more usable situational definitions. A hierarchical multiple regression analysis reveled main effects for cognitive complexity and perceived resistance in predicting the level of identity confirmation in complaint messages. Interactions between cognitive complexity and perceived resistance, perceived dominance, perceived severity, and attributional tendency were also significantly associated with complaint message quality. Consistent with the claim that more sophisticated social cognitions have more integrated situational definitions, those with higher levels of social cognitive development were influenced by their perception of their power in the relationship, the severity of the partner's transgression, and the degree to which they tend to attribute a partner's dissatisfying behaviors to negative intentions, while only the perception of resistance predicted the identity confirming quality of the less cognitively complex participants' messages.
Degree ProgramGraduate College