Perception of Parents’ Conflicts and Constructive Partner Communication Contribution to the Relationship Quality: Dyadic Approach



parental conflict, constructive communication, relationship quality, dyadic analysis


According to the social learning theory, parents serve as the first models of a partnership, and offspring observe and adopt various patterns of behaviour from their interaction. These patterns are often passed down to the offspring's intimate relationships in adulthood, so if the observed patterns were maladaptive and the parental relationship was marked by numerous conflicts and/or divorce, it may lead to intergenerational transmission of marital instability. The intimate relationship becomes even more complex when we consider it a result of the interaction of two people who bring different experiences and skills into it. Dyadic methodology allows us to take into account this interdependence of partners in the relationship and gather data on their interaction. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the role of constructive communication in a relationship as a potential mediator between the perception of parental conflict during upbringing and the quality of the relationship in young adulthood, as this is a period when establishing a  quality partnership is one of the main developmental tasks. Using the extended actor-partner interdependence model (APIMeM) on a sample of 309 heterosexual couples, we did not find a significant direct effect of the perception of parental conflict on the quality of the relationship in either women or men. However, men’s constructive communication proved to be a mediator for both men and women. Specifically, men’s perception of a more pronounced parental conflict has a negative effect on their constructive communication skills, which in result have an effect on reducing the perception of relationship quality (actor effect) for men, but men's constructive communication skills also contribute to women's reduced perception of relationship quality (partner effect).