Personality and interpersonal conflict management

Mary E. Utley, Deborah R. Richardson, Constance J. Pilkington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study addressed the extent to which personality factors are related to responses to interpersonal conflict. Two issues were examined: (a) the relationship between personality measures and conflict styles and (b) the consistency of conflict response style across targets. One hundred and fifty-three college students evaluated five different conflict responses as to the frequency with which they used them in interaction with a professor, a parent, and a friend. They also completed the Personality Research Form, a measure of a variety of personality needs. Some of the conflict responses were related to personality needs. Achievement, nurturance, endurance, and social desirability related to an integrating conflict response; dominance and understanding related to dominating. In general, the results of this study point to the importance of both personality and situational (i.e. target) factors in understanding responses to interpersonal conflict. However, because personality factors were not related to all of the conflict responses and because there was some inconsistency in personality/conflict relationships across target, these results suggest that a personality or individual difference approach to the study of interpersonal conflict management may be too restricted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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