Bruna Zani, Elvira Cicognani

La gestione del conflitto nelle famiglie con adolescenti: le prospettive di genitori e figli

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This research analyzes the styles and outcomes of conflict in families with an adolescent child. The purpose is to assess how adolescents and their parents describe the characteristics of family conflict, and in particular: similarities and differences in descriptions according to adolescents' age and gender, the parent and the perspective adopted (self- vs other-description). A second purpose was to investigate the relationship between the different styles of conflict and their outcomes. The sample includes 500 adolescents, male and female, of two age groups (13 and 15years) and their parents (393 fathers and 420 mothers). Conflict styles and outcomes have been assessed using the "When we disagree scale" (Honess et al., 1997). Results showed an increase in conflict (use of a more aggressive style, and outcomes as frustration and escalation) from 13 to 15 years. Parents (especially mothers) describe their relationship with female adolescents as more conflictual. Adolescents describe mothers as more compromising in their style than fathers. Moreover, adolescents are described by all family members as more aggressive. The adoption of a more aggressive style is associated with outcomes as frustration and escalation, whereas a compromising attitudes leads to a greater intimacy.

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