University of Ottawa
University of Quebec in Montreal, McGill University and Douglas Research Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
University of Quebec in Montreal
Previous studies of couples have shown theoretically predicted links between 1) support seeking/attachment and marital functioning, and 2) caregiving and marital functioning (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007). The present study further develops this area of research by investigating the link between conflict management and support seeking in couples, and the relationship between conflict management and caregiving behaviours in couples. Eighty couples completed the Potential Problem Checklist (Patterson, 1976) and a filmed 15-minute interactive problem-solving task. Independent teams of coders rated support seeking/caregiving and conflict management behaviours with the Secure Base Scoring System for Adults (Crowell et al., 1998) and the Global Couple Interaction Coding System (Bélanger et al., 1993). It was hypothesized that a partner who asked for and gave support effectively would be less prone to withdraw, dominate, and criticize, and more likely to reinforce and listen to his/her partner and solve problems effectively. It was further hypothesized that men/women with a partner who sought and gave support effectively would be less likely to withdraw, dominate, and criticize, and more likely to reinforce and listen to his/her partner and demonstrate good problem solving skills. The results revealed that men and women who had effective support seeking and caregiving skills demonstrated greater conflict management skills during a discussion about a topic of conflict with their partner. The results further revealed a relationship between caregiving skills in one partner and conflict management skills in the other partner. This study contributes to the development of an integrative model of marital functioning.