The Influence of Living Arrangements on Couple's Conflict Topics: A Daily Diary Study of Young Adult Couples
My thesis examined differences in areas of relationship conflict among various living arrangements of couples. I analyzed 249 phone call interviews from 54 couples that resided in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, had been in a relationship for at least six months, and were at least 21 years of age. By using a qualitative analysis, I analyzed differences in frequently mentioned areas of conflict (i.e. power, social issues, personal flaws, distrust, intimacy, personal distance) between romantic couples in three common couple living arrangements (i.e. non-cohabiting, cohabiting, and married). Findings showed certain areas of conflict were prevalent among all living arrangements, namely power and personal flaws. There were some differences between each living arrangement group: The non-cohabiting group was the only one to report distrust as a top area of conflict, and the cohabiting group reported more frequent incidents of conflict involving personal flaws than the married group. The married group identified social issues as a more prevalent area of conflict than the other groups. Differences in prevalent areas of conflict were examined in relation to varying levels of personal, structural and moral commitment that occur throughout the identified living arrangements.