Masculine gender-role adherence indicates conflict resolution patterns in heterosexual adolescent couples: A dyadic, observational study

Adam A. Rogers, Thao Ha, Jennifer Byon, Clare Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Conflict resolution in romantic relationships is a critical skillset that relates to individual and relational well-being. In adolescence, heterosexual romantic relationships are highly gendered, and norms for traditional masculinity (a bravado focused on interpersonal dominance) may be relevant in shaping how adolescents navigate disagreements. Therefore, we examined the associations between adolescents’ conformity to norms for traditional masculinity and their conflict resolution in their romantic relationships. Method: Using a sample of 91 heterosexual adolescent couples from the Southwest United States (Mage = 16.50, SD = .90; 44% White, 42% Latinx), we examined how self-reported conformity to traditional masculinity predicted independent observer ratings of negotiation, coercion, and avoidance strategies during a lab-based conflict and jealousy discussion task. Results: Results of actor-partner interdependence models (APIMs) indicated that more highly masculine adolescents generally displayed less conflict negotiation and more coercion during the discussion task. Dyadic and gendered patterns characterized masculinity's associations with negotiation and coercion. Masculinity was unassociated with conflict avoidance. Conclusions: Adolescents in heterosexual relationships that adhere more rigidly to gendered norms for traditional masculinity may be challenged in acquiring skills for constructive conflict resolution with a romantic partner. Adolescent romantic relationships are a socialization context in which many individuals develop the skills for future romantic relationships, including those into young adulthood. Addressing masculine gender roles in adolescence may help promote the development of positive conflict management and overall romantic functioning in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume79
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

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Keywords

  • Adolescent romantic relationships
  • Conflict resolution
  • Masculinity
  • Observational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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