Perceived Match or Mismatch on the Gottman Conflict Styles: Associations with Relationship Outcome Variables
conflict styles, Gottman, couples
Gottman has proposed that there are 3 functional styles of conflict management in couple relationships, labeled Avoidant, Validating, and Volatile, and 1 dysfunctional style, labeled Hostile. Using a sample of 1,983 couples in a committed relationship, we test the association of perceived matches or mismatches on these conflict styles with relationship outcome variables. The results indicate that 32% of the participants perceive there is a mismatch with their conflict style and that of their partner. The Volatile‐Avoidant mismatch was particularly problematic and was associated with more stonewalling, relationship problems, and lower levels of relationship satisfaction and stability than the Validating matched style and than other mismatched styles. The most problematic style was the Hostile style. Contrary to existing assumptions by Gottman, the 3 matched functional styles were not equivalent, as the Validating Style was associated with substantially better results on relationship outcome measures than the Volatile and Avoidant styles.
Original Publication Citation
Busby, D. M., & Holman. T. B. (2009). Perceived match or mismatch on the Gottman conflict styles: Associations with relationship outcome variables. Family Process, 48, 531-545.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Busby, Dean M. and Holman, Thomas B., "Perceived Match or Mismatch on the Gottman Conflict Styles: Associations with Relationship Outcome Variables" (2009). Faculty Publications. 4606.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
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