Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. Donald Saklofske

Abstract

Dual concern models of conflict postulate that people employ various conflict resolution strategies based on their degree of concern for the self and others. Previous studies have demonstrated that individual difference variables play an important role in determining what strategies people use. The purpose of the current mixed-methods study was to increase understanding of how individual differences influence both general and situation-specific conflict resolution. A sample of 486 university students completed questionnaires assessing trait emotional intelligence (EI), ability EI, self-compassion, compassion for others, and general conflict resolution strategies. Participants also gave an open-ended response to a hypothetical task conflict scenario to assess what individual difference variables influence situation specific conflict resolution. Results of an exploratory factor analysis suggest the use of a four-factor model of conflict strategies: problem solving (which includes compromise), forcing, yielding, and avoiding. A structural equation model revealed that both compassion and EI components significantly predict conflict resolution strategies. Furthermore, compassion for others mediated the relationship between EI and problem solving. A qualitative content analysis uncovered six themes regarding what individual differences influence conflict resolution: decision-making, acceptance of threatening information, guiding principles, assessment of people, interpersonal behaviours, and emotional response.


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