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Successful negotiation of goal conflict between romantic partners predicts better goal outcomes during COVID-19: A mixed methods study

Authors
  • Vowels, Laura M.
  • Carnelley, Katherine B.
  • Francois-Walcott, Rachel R. R.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Publisher
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2022
Volume
39
Issue
2
Pages
155–178
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/02654075211033341
PMID: 35125598
PMCID: PMC8803754
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Articles
License
Unknown

Abstract

When romantic partners’ personal goals conflict, this can negatively affect personal goal outcomes, such as progress. In a concurrent mixed methods study, we investigated whether goal conflict and negation of goal conflict were associated with goal outcomes (progress, confidence, motivation) and what strategies partners used during the COVID-19 pandemic to negotiate goal conflict. Survey participants ( n = 200) completed a daily diary for a week and weekly longitudinal reports for a month and interview participants ( n = 48) attended a semi-structured interview. Results showed that higher goal conflict was associated with lower goal outcomes, and successful negotiation of goal conflict was associated with better goal outcomes. Qualitative analyses identified three goal conflict negotiation strategies (compromise, integration, concession). Conversations focused on both practical and emotional needs and included respectful communication and space from conflict (timeout or avoidance). The mixed methods results suggest that goal conflict was low during the pandemic and participants were often able to negotiate goal conflict resulting in better goal outcomes.

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