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Conflict management in mother–daughter interactions in early adolescence

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The current study examined content and structure of mother–daughter conflict interactions during early adolescence. Participants were 30 dyads of 12-year-old Dutch adolescent girls and their mothers, who were observed during a conflict interaction task and who completed measures on several aspects of relationship quality. Conflict management behaviours of both mothers and daughters were consistently related to perceived relationship quality, suggesting that interactions wherein daughters have a more active role and mothers are more passive are associated with more dominance and open communication in the relationship as perceived by mothers and daughters. Furthermore, when there was greater dyadic variability, mothers perceived more dominance and criticism from daughters, while daughters perceived more dominance and less open communication from mothers, suggesting that variability of dyadic behaviour is indicative of a realignment of the parent–adolescent relationship towards greater equality.

Affiliations: 1: Research Centre Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands


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