Study Explores How Personality and Gender Can Influence Conflict in Adolescents

September 22, 2021by Natalie Davis0

Summary of:

Sandu, M. L., Rus, M., & Rus, C. V. (2020). Relationship between personality traits and individual response to conflict situations in adolescents. Technium Social Sciences Journal, 6, 131-141. https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/techssj6&id=133&men_tab=srchresults

Background & Theory

This article explores how personality and gender traits can contribute to conflict management styles (primarily compromise vs. confrontation). This study aims to better understand the possible relationships between these areas in adolescents.

Research Questions

Sandu, Rus, and Rus, in “Relationship between personality traits and individual response to conflict situations in adolescents” (2020), seek to address the following questions:

    1. How are personality traits and conflict management styles related in adolescents?
    2. What is the role of gender in this?

Methods

The authors conducted this study with a total of 124 participants. The participants were asked to complete a 5-factor CP5F personality questionnaire and a questionnaire related to how they handle conflict. Evaluated on these questionnaires were questions to deduce how these participants personally responded to conflict, such as whether they withdraw or move to reconciliation. They evaluated the data statistically through various means (including the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), looking for relationships between personality traits, gender, and various conflict responses/strategies in adolescents.

Results

The results showed that gender and personality do tend to have a rather large impact on how one addresses conflict as an adolescent (though it can be inferred this will translate to adult years). They found many differences between girls and boys in their overall values and responses to conflict, and found links between personality traits to emotional stability and how this might influence conflict management. They determine that while part of the conflict management strategies are influenced by gender, this is not inherently because of physical differences but rather due to the reinforcement of gender stereotypes.

What This Means

  • Our personality can play a large role in how we address conflict, as can our gender.
  • Understanding how to teach and influence adolescents on how to handle conflict, especially taking their individual personalities in context, is of critical importance to their wellbeing as adolescents and into their adult years.
  • Understanding the various influences we all have on how we approach conflict can be helpful as we seek to better ourselves and address conflict in meaningful, productive ways.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: Coaching clients on how to understand their own approaches to conflict and the factors that influence them and helping them grow in this area can be a great tool to build resilience and increase better conflict management strategies.

For everyone: Personal reflection is an ongoing process we all have, and it is important to include how we respond to conflict as part of this, and check ourselves when in or after a conflict. This will contribute to our growth in this area and help us lead a more peaceful life.

Natalie Davis

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