Nazlı Baydar - Strengthening the Processes Leading to the Resolution of Marital Conflict
|Study location||Turkey, Istanbul|
|Type||Summer Research Program - Graduate, full-time|
At least 2 reference(s) must be provided.
The purpose of the proposed project is twofold: (1) to examine how marital conflict develops, the predictors of positive resolution of conflicts and unresolved escalating conflicts, and (2) to develop effective and culturally appropriate interventions that will support the positive resolution of marital conflict, and to prepare those interventions to be implemented to scale. The divorce rate in Turkey is lower than in Europe and the United States. The prevailing collectivistic values may have given rise to the high value attributed to family unity, the patriarchal norms that regard being a wife and mother as the most important roles of women, the low level of education of women, and their lack of attachment to the labor force. These factors may lead to the avoidance of divorce even when the level of marital conflict is high. In this context, the negative consequences of escalating and unresolved conflict can be substantial, and the prevention of such conflicts and the development of positive conflict resolution skills may be even more important.
The causes of marital conflict, the types of conflict, and non-constructive approaches to conflict were frequently studied in Western countries. However, the functioning of a family and the nature of the interactions of the individuals in the family depend on the cultural context. Therefore, studies conducted in other cultural contexts are not sufficient to understand the processes of family conflict and conflict resolution in Turkey. There are a number of recent studies of marital conflict in Turkey, but a comprehensive study that will address the limitations of prior studies is needed. For example, many of the previous studies were of small scale, were conducted with non-representative samples, and used conceptual frameworks and measurement instruments that were developed for families in dissimilar cultural contexts. The proposed research aims to study marital conflict without abstracting it from its cultural and social context; by considering its individual, dyadic, family, and extended family predictors with a holistic approach. The conceptual framework to be used adopts the general perspective of the Family Systems theory, but synthesizes this approach by taking into account individual level cognitive, behavioral and emotional processes and the macro level social / cultural processes. This research includes a quantitative study, a qualitative study, and an applied study that includes two intervention programs. The quantitative study will be conducted with a nationally representative sample, and will lead to a longitudinal database addressing issues related to marital conflict. Analyses using this database will delineate the development of marital conflict, the predictors of this process, and its consequences. The qualitative study will be conducted with 54 families from 6 provinces of Turkey. These families will be selected among those with different intensities of conflict using data from the quantitative study. The goals of the qualitative study are to investigate the development of marital conflict from the subjective perspective of the families, to understand the approaches to conflict resolution, to delineate the language that is used to describe marital conflict, and to learn the subjective experiences of the spouses during marital conflict. The outcome of these two studies will be two intervention programs. A preventive intervention program will be developed to be implemented with small groups for supporting positive conflict resolution in couples who experience low levels of conflict. A remedial intervention program will be developed to be implemented with couples who experience high, unresolved and escalating levels of conflict. Both intervention programs will be fully structured, will use experimental designs, their outcomes will be evaluated quantitatively, and their processes will be evaluated qualitatively. Thus, both intervention programs will be ready to be disseminated.In conclusion, the proposed project will contribute to the theoretical basis of the study of marital conflict, will make a significant contribution to empirical basic research in this field with its nationally representative and longitudinal approach, and will use its accumulation of knowledge for developing effective and culturally appropriate intervention programs, serving the community.