Repository logo

Communication patterns and conflict: effects of forgiveness on rumination, sleep, and relationship evaluations




Prosser, Julie Lanette, author
Harman, Jennifer J., advisor
Faw, Meara, committee member
Crain, Tori, committee member
Graham, Daniel, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


A research method commonly used in relationship science involves asking participants to engage in a conversation with their partner regarding an area of conflict within their relationship. It was predicted that for participants who engage in conflictual or withdrawal communication patterns, asking couples to further explore their conflict in a laboratory could lead to short-term increases in stress. It was further predicted that engaging in a forgiveness writing intervention may circumvent additional negative short-term outcomes compared to those in a control writing condition. Results showed that while controlling for baseline levels of serial conflict, short-term stress, and initial baseline levels of stress, men's conflict communication patterns, as opposed to withdrawal communication patterns, predicted increased stress for women. The forgiveness intervention mitigated some of the effects of withdrawal communication patterns as opposed to conflict communication patterns on several outcomes. Specifically, men's withdrawal scores predicted decreased stress and negative mood for themselves and increased perceived support from their partner after engaging in the forgiveness writing condition. Unexpected patterns emerged for the moderated effect of condition and withdrawal on sleep, as women slept less, and men had decreased sleep quality after having been in the forgiveness condition and experienced withdrawal patterns from their partner. The significance of the study and future directions are discussed.


Rights Access




Associated Publications