Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 8, pp 972–982 | Cite as

Identity Styles and Conflict Resolution Styles: Associations in Mother–Adolescent Dyads

  • Lies Christine Missotten
  • Koen Luyckx
  • Susan Branje
  • Janne Vanhalst
  • Luc Goossens
Empirical Research


Adolescent identity and parent–adolescent conflict have each attracted considerable research interest. However, few studies have examined the important link between the two constructs. The present study examined the associations between adolescent identity processing styles and adolescent conflict resolution styles in the mother–adolescent dyad. Questionnaires about conflict frequency and resolution were completed by 796 adolescents (66% female, mostly Caucasian) and their mothers. Adolescents also completed a measure on identity styles. Each identity style was hypothesized to relate to a specific conflict resolution behavior. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that the information-oriented identity style was positively associated with positive problem solving and negatively with conflict engagement and withdrawal, the normative style was positively associated with compliance, and, finally, the diffuse-avoidant style was positively associated with withdrawal and conflict engagement and negatively with positive problem solving. Our results demonstrated that the way in which adolescents tackle identity-relevant issues is related to the way in which they deal with conflicts with their mothers. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Mid-adolescence Identity styles Conflict frequency Conflict resolution Mother–adolescent dyad 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lies Christine Missotten
    • 1
  • Koen Luyckx
    • 1
  • Susan Branje
    • 2
  • Janne Vanhalst
    • 1
  • Luc Goossens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development (SCAD)Catholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Research Centre Adolescent DevelopmentUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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