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The extended nature of conflict: The varying impact of instrumental and affective satisfaction during conflict on working and postconflict relationship quality

Daniel L Shapiro, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Abstract

Mainstream orientations to conflict management neglect to account for the long-term impact of emotional satisfaction during interpersonal interactions. Thus, this paper proposes a new approach to conflict management, the “Multi-Dimensional Orientation” (MDO), which builds upon prior notions of conflict management by incorporating affective and instrumental elements of conflict. The MDO suggests that people's short- and long-term relationship quality can be enhanced if their affective and instrumental needs during conflict situations are satisfied. ^ To test hypotheses derived from the MDO, survey participants reported on a recent interpersonal conflict and their relationship quality with the other disputant during the reported conflict. Analyses revealed a positive relationship between the extent to which disputants' affective and instrumental needs were satisfied during the conflict and their assessments of their working and post-conflict relationship quality with one another. Affective satisfaction showed to be the more powerful predictor of long-term relationship satisfaction in general, although characteristics of the participants influenced affect's predictive power. In particular, gender differences emerged, showing that affective and instrumental satisfaction relate to long-term relationship quality for females, while for males long-term relationship quality relates only to instrumental satisfaction. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Daniel L Shapiro, "The extended nature of conflict: The varying impact of instrumental and affective satisfaction during conflict on working and postconflict relationship quality" (January 1, 1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. Paper AAI9932345.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI9932345

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