Discrepant Perspectives on Conflict Situations Among Urban Parent–Adolescent Dyads

Elizabeth M. Parker, Sarah R. Lindstrom Johnson, Vanya C. Jones, Denise L. Haynie, Tina L. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Parents influence urban youths’ violence-related behaviors. To provide effective guidance, parents should understand how youth perceive conflict, yet little empirical research has been conducted regarding parent and youth perceptions of conflict. The aims of this article are to (a) report on the nature of discrepancies in attribution of fault, (b) present qualitative data about the varying rationales for fault attribution, and (c) use quantitative data to identify correlates of discrepancy including report of attitudes toward violence, parental communication, and parents’ messages about retaliatory violence. Interviews were conducted with 101 parent/adolescent dyads. The study population consisted of African American female caretakers (n = 92; that is, mothers, grandmothers, aunts) and fathers (n = 9) and their early adolescents (mean age = 13.6). A total of 53 dyads were discrepant in identifying instigators in one or both videos. When discrepancy was present, the parent was more likely to identify the actor who reacted to the situation as at fault. In the logistic regression models, parental attitudes about retaliatory violence were a significant correlate of discrepancy, such that as parent attitudes supporting retaliatory violence increased, the odds of discrepancy decreased. The results suggest that parents and adolescents do not always view conflict situations similarly, which may inhibit effective parent–child communication, parental advice, and discipline. Individuals developing and implementing family-based violence prevention interventions need to be cognizant of the complexity of fault attribution and design strategies to promote conversations around attribution of fault and effective conflict management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1025
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • community violence
  • cultural contexts
  • youth violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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