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A Cross-Cultural Study of Chinese and American Students' Relationship Conflict

Grant Winners

  • Christine Ajayi, Ph.D. – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Elisa Leeder, M.S. – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Rachael Hernandez, M.S. – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences


  • Honggang Yang, Ph.D. – Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Award Winners

The goal of this proposed study is to compare the experiences of American and Chinese college students' perceptions and experiences of relational conflict in light of their perceptions of their parents' relationships. An increase in romantic relationship conflict has been found to occur during the transition to adulthood. Previous research has made links to subsequent relationship conflict and family of origin relationship dynamics. To examine the effect of the transgenerational process on later romantic conflict, a comparative analysis is proposed. The perceptions of interparental relationships will be examined in relation to experiences with relational conflict during emerging adulthood. An innovation of the current study is its cross-cultural comparative dimension. Investigators have made connections to intergenerational relational processes on the experiences of young adults, but this will be the first study to explicitly assess the experiences of both American and Chinese emerging adults. This is important, as both China and America are currently responding to critical clinical needs for emerging adults who are experiencing challenges in their romantic relationships, including conflict and violence. Although there are empirically-supported prevention and intervention models, it is critical that prevalence and experiences are understood contextually, as to apply the best methods of intervention for these emerging adults. The study will be one year in length. Students will be assessed using validated assessment measures of the perceptions of their parents and their own relational experiences. A comparative analysis of American and Chinese youth will be done. The investigators will disseminate the results both in America and China.

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