Conflict Strategies and Intimacy: Variations by Romantic Relationship Development and Gender


  • Lisa Hurley
  • Marla Reese-Weber


The purpose of the present study was to examine how relationship duration was related to conflict strategies and levels of intimacy in romantic relationships and how that might vary by gender. Participants completed self-report measures to assess perceived levels of reciprocal intimacy and reported uses of positive and negative conflict strategies. Results found an inverted U-shaped pattern for negative conflict strategies and a linear increase in levels of intimacy with duration. No differences were found for positive conflict strategies with duration. Gender differences were found for levels of intimacy, with women reporting higher levels of relationship intimacy as compared to men regardless of relationship duration; but, no gender differences were found for either positive or negative conflict strategies. Future research in this area should replicate these findings to further support the importance of romantic relationship development in examining relationship qualities such as conflict strategies and intimacy.

Author Biographies

Lisa Hurley, Illinois State University, Normal
Department of Psychology
Marla Reese-Weber, Illinois State University, Normal
Department of Psychology