Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Conflict Management, Conflict Strategies, Friendships, Adult-Child Parental Relationships, Conflict

Major Advisor

Mark Hamilton, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Ross Buck, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Shannon Weaver, Ph.D.

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Conflict is pervasive in every part of life, specifically within interpersonal relationships. Moreover, the extent to which a person handles and manages conflict can directly affect relationship and conflict outcomes. In addition, emotion and personality traits can also impact how a conflict is managed. That is, emotion and personality traits may predict the use of certain conflict management strategies which then can affect the overall conflict outcome. Though these variables have been researched in other areas, conflict research on parent-adult child and adult friendship conflict contexts remains limited. Thus, the current research sought to understand the personality and emotional traits that drive conflict strategies, underlying the various conflict tactics in parent-adult child and adult friendship conflict situations. A convenience sample (N = 569) was collected. Half of the participants completed the adult parental online survey, and half completed the friendship online survey. These surveys included conflict management and emotion and personality scales. Results of structural equation modeling indicated that individuals in both contexts exhibited similar conflict management patterns, specifically with the role of avoidance. Avoidance, as evidenced in other studies, was used as a way to return to more constructive types of conflict. Additionally, in both contexts, depression, contentment and egocentrism increased the use of avoidance. Moreover, in both contexts contentment and verbal collaborativeness increased the use of constructive conflict management strategies, while grandiosity and verbal destructiveness increased the use of aggressive conflict management strategies in both contexts. Implications for these results as well as differences in the two contexts are discussed, followed by limitations of the study.