Title

Escalating, Accusing, and Rationalizing: A Model of Distortion and Interaction in Couple Conflict

Keywords

couple conflict, distortion, victimization, accusation, blame, attribution

Abstract

When couples fight, they tend to distort, using strategies like denial, rationalization, and deception. These are used to blame the other and minimize one's role in the conflict. This dynamic almost always exists during conflict and is found in extreme forms when fighting turns abusive. This project involved using constructivist grounded theory methods to analyze observational data of couple interactions. Types, effects, and contextual issues related to distortions, as well as how partners used strategies to deescalate and avoid distortion, were examined. Types of distortion included accusation, justification, and victimization, and these were arranged into a model that shows the relationship between escalation and distortion. Implications for clinicians and researchers are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Whiting, J. B., & Cravens, J. D. (2015). Escalating, accusing and rationalizing: A model of distortion and interaction in couple conflict. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2015-08-25

Publisher

Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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