Looking for authoritative data on adult conflict styles and tactics
December 31, 2013 6:39 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for researched or surveyed information on how adults in a relationship fight. Specifically, books or articles on how common it is for adults to make deliberately hurtful comments in anger, and references from sociology, psychology or counseling about the effects of that style of fighting.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I read Why Marriages Succeed or Fail as part of pre-marital counseling. I don't recall it containing statistics, but the book discusses at great length the different types of conflict styles in relationships and how these different types interact. It was enormously helpful. The book also includes quizzes for readers to determine their own conflict style.

The book is about 20 years old. Some of the assumptions may feel old-fashioned (and heteronormative) at times, but the information contained within is timeless.
posted by duffell at 7:37 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Echoing what duffell said. John Gottman's work is what you want to be looking at here. There is also an episode of This American Life that also explores his research if you would like another format for hearing about his work.
posted by amoeba at 8:22 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Susan Heitler is a therapist specializing in conflict and resolution. She identifies four styles of "unhealthy conflict" (fight, flight, freeze, submit) and talks about the resulting effects. Her writing tends to be geared more toward therapists who want to help couples stop doing that, but this pdf has some information about conflict styles. (No numbers that I'm seeing, though.)
posted by jaguar at 8:41 AM on December 31, 2013

Try "Becoming an Ally" by Anne Bishop for some analysis of _why_ people do this.
posted by unstrungharp at 10:48 AM on January 10, 2014

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