Perceptions of conflict behavior and relational satisfaction in adult parent-child relationships: A dyadic analysis from an attachment perspective

Angela G. la Valley, Laura Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Dyadic data were used to examine associations between attachment, relational satisfaction, and perceptions of conflict style in adult child-parent relationships. Several actor effects emerged; secure attachment was associated with more collaborating and compromising, dismissive attachment was associated with less collaborating and more indirect fighting and avoiding, and preoccupied attachment was associated with more competitive and indirect fighting. There were also partner effects. Individuals were more likely to report using collaborating and compromising if their partner (parent or child) was secure, and more likely to report indirect fighting if their partner was dismissive. Four actor by partner interactions surfaced. Preoccupied individuals reported more collaborating when their partners were secure and less compromising when their partners were dismissive. Dismissive individuals reported less yielding if their partner was preoccupied. Secure individuals reported less competitive fighting if their partner was fearful. The data also demonstrated that for actor effects, the collaborating style mediated a positive association between secure attachment and relational satisfaction. For partner effects, there were direct associations between a parent's attachment security and a child's relational satisfaction as well as between one's partner's reported use of collaborating and one's own relational satisfaction. These and other findings are discussed in terms of their implications for work on attachment and conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-78
Number of pages31
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012



  • attachment
  • conflict
  • parent-child
  • relational satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this