How do emotion regulation, attachment related anxiety and attachment related avoidance impact on the ability to resolve conflict in adolescence?
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AbstractObjectives: The current research explored the impact of attachment related anxiety, attachment related avoidance and emotion dysregulation upon conflict resolution style in adolescence. Methods: A mixed methods, sequential design was employed. Part one employed a quantitative methodology. Four multiple regression analyses were employed to assess the impact of attachment related anxiety, attachment related avoidance and emotion dysregulation upon four conflict resolution styles: positive problem solving, conflict engagement, compliance and withdrawal. Participants were 192 adolescents, aged 14 to 17 and were recruited from five secondary schools. Part two employed a qualitative methodology to further explore the themes that emerged from part one. Specifically the interviews aimed to explore in further detail the influence of attachment on choice of conflict resolution style. Overall, ten adolescents aged between 14 to 17 were recruited from one secondary school. Results: Overall quantitative results demonstrated that the DERS scores (emotion dysregulation) consistently impacted upon all conflict resolution styles. The DERS demonstrated positive relationships with the resolution styles of conflict engagement, compliance and withdrawal but a negative relationship with positive problem solving. The attachment variables however, did not consistently have an impact on all resolutions styles. Particularly, ECR-RS avoidance only made a significant contribution to resolution styles of compliance and positive problem solving demonstrating negative relationships. ECR-Anxiety made no significant contribution to any conflict resolution styles. The qualitative part of the study revealed three main themes, Relationship efficacy, Individual differences and Social constraints. Conclusions: Overall the current research highlighted that attachment and emotion dysregulation may contribute to the choice of conflict resolution styles in adolescents. Results indicated that attachment security may manifest in different ways for different individuals and thus their following conflict resolution styles. In addition to this, findings highlighted that both individuals within the conflict interaction may impact upon the conflict experience and behaviours utilised. Both the adolescent and the person they are in conflict with can be responsible for escalating or de-escalating the emotions of the other. The qualitative part of the research highlighted other factors such as diagnosis and social constructs including authority/consequences that may contribute to responses during conflict outside of attachment and emotion dysregulation. Overall, therapeutic work targeting better conflict resolution with adolescents should seek to understand the adolescent’s individual conflict experience and the factors within their own narrative to understand specific targets for appropriate intervention work.
CitationHitchens, K. (2022) How do emotion regulation, attachment related anxiety and attachment related avoidance impact on the ability to resolve conflict in adolescence? University of Wolverhampton.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA portfolio submitted to The University of Wolverhampton for the Practitioner Doctorate: Counselling Psychology Award: D.Couns.Psych.
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