Conflict resolution patterns and longevity of adolescent romantic couples: a 2-year follow-up study

J Adolesc. 2006 Aug;29(4):575-88. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2005.08.018. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


This study examined the predictors of longevity among 40 late adolescent romantic couples (mean age males=17.71 years; mean age females=17.18 years). Subjects were given a revealed differences task where they were asked to solve their disagreements. The joint task was recorded, transcribed and analysed by two raters. At 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months after this procedure, partners were contacted by telephone and asked whether their relationship was still intact. A cluster analysis was performed on couples' interaction indices and yielded three distinctive conflict resolution patterns. The Downplaying pattern was characterized by a high tendency to minimize the conflict. The relationships of the adolescents displaying this pattern stayed intact for a period of 9 months. Half of them were still together after 24 months. The adolescents displaying the Integrative pattern, which shows a good ability to negotiate differences tended to stay together over a period of 24 months. Those showing the Conflictive pattern, characterized by a confrontative interaction, were separated by the 3 months follow-up. Results are discussed within the context of developmental perspectives of conflict resolution tendencies and adolescent romance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Communication*
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Time Factors