Escalating, Accusing and Rationalizing: A Model of Distortion and Interaction in Couple Conflict

Jason Whiting, Jaclyn Cravens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When couples fight they tend to distort, using strategies like denial, rationalization and deception. These are used to blame the other and minimize one’s role in the conflict. This dynamic almost always exists during conflict, and is found in extreme forms when fighting turns abusive. This project involved using constructivist grounded theory methods to analyze observational data of couple interactions. Types, effects and contextual issues related to distortions, as well as how partners used strategies to de-escalate and avoid distortion were examined. Types of distortion included accusation, justification, and victimization, and these were arranged into a model that shows the relationship between escalation and distortion. Implications for clinicians and researchers are discussed. Key Words: couple conflict, distortion, victimization, accusation, blame, attribution
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2015

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