First Advisor

L. David Ritchie

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Marital conflict, Interpersonal relations, Communication in marriage



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 72 p.)


Communication is an integral part of all relationships. The intent of this study was to discover if certain individual preferences for approaching conflict occur in a significant fashion between the partners of particular types of marriages. In addition, this study meant to better understand how conflict is perceived and responded to, in marriage and/or long term relationships. Fitzpatrick's (1977) Relational Dimensions Inventory (RDI), was used for this study to characterize three dimensions of marriage: interdependence, ideology, and conflict engagement/avoidance, resulting in the following marital types: Traditionals, Independents, Separates, and Mixed. Rahim's (1983) instrument, the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory (ROCI), was also used to measure five independent patterns of handling interpersonal conflict: Integrating, Dominating, Compromising, Avoiding, and Obliging. Based on prior work of Fitzpatrick (1975, 1983, 1988) and Rahim (1983), this study asked: Do conflict styles vary across marital types? Individual hypotheses examined occurrences of particular conflict styles within specific marital types. The data represent 103 couples. Data were derived from a Likert type survey instrument of Fitzpatrick's RDI and Rahim's ROCI-II, with a total of 65 questions. Chi-square and cross-tabulation were used to reveal associations between marital type and conflict style. Bonferroni procedure for multiple hypotheses was applied. Cross-tabulation did not indicate a relationship between marital types and conflict styles. One hypothesis was statistically supported. As couple level data produced few significant results, post hoc analysis at the individual level was conducted. Conflict styles were conceptually divided into concern for self and concern for other. ANOVA was run on marital type, other orientation, and satisfaction. Significant results are reported for wives.


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