Baylor Researcher Creates Conflict Resolution Web Site for Couples

March 8, 2010

While every relationship has conflicts, it is how a couple deals with and resolves the conflict that is important. A Baylor University researcher, who has conducted extensive research on how couples can best resolve relationship conflicts, has created a conflict resolution web site for couples totally based on his research. Called the Couple Conflict Consultant, the program utilizes a personalized approach, instead of forcing participants into a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

"The web site helps participants discover their own personal style to conflict resolution," said Dr. Keith Sanford, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor who designed the web site. "It lets participants understand advantages and disadvantages of different techniques and sort through many options that are available for building strong communication with their partner. It's one of the few programs on the Internet that does that."

Once logged into the Couple Conflict Consultant, participants complete a questionnaire assessment of a current or recent conflict with their partner. The questionnaire was developed and tested over several years in a series of published research studies involving thousands of couples. The assessment provides scores on 14 important areas of conflict resolution. These scores identify the participants' strengths and weaknesses and provide guidance in developing the participants' own personalized plan to strengthen conflict resolution skills in their relationship.

The scores also help a participant resolve a particular conflict with their partner. Based off the participants' score, the program will provide specific things they are doing to help resolve conflict and things that are likely to make conflict worse. The feedback gives recommendations on areas to address for improved conflict resolution.

Participants also have access to a large resource bank, which provides information on conflict resolution and techniques that can be used to develop specific skills. For several decades, scientists have been studying how couples resolve conflict, and they have made a tremendous number of discoveries about what works and what does not. The resource bank brings all this information to one place, including a separate section for each of the 14 areas of conflict resolution, along with illustrations and examples.

After completing an assessment questionnaire and receiving feedback, participants can use the goals worksheet to create a personalized plan for strengthening communication in their relationship. Sanford said the worksheet is important because no two people are alike, and every relationship has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. The goals worksheet guides participants though this process as they develop a plan that best fits their preferences, abilities and relationship.

Since the web site is part of a research study being conducted by Sanford, the Couple Conflict Consultant is free.

Media contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, Assistant Vice President of Media Communications, 254-710-1964.

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