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date: 08 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

We investigate whether the amplification of positive affect during conflict discussions or “up regulation” between adolescent romantic partners functions to prevent or terminate interpersonal conflict. Unfortunately, this up regulation strategy may also result in unresolved relationship problems, and ultimately increase adolescent depressive symptoms. The concept of coercion is reviewed as it applies to conflict resolution and avoidance in a sample of 80 adolescent romantic relationships. Results from multilevel hazard models showed that longer durations of observed upregulation states predicted increases in depressive symptoms in both males and females over the course of 2 years. In addition, female depression predicted slower exits from coercive states, which in turn predicted higher levels of males’ depressive symptoms. Implications of these findings are discussed, as well as the possibility that positive affect can be negatively reinforced when it functions to avoid conflict in recently formed close relationships.

Keywords: adolescent, romantic, relationships, conflict, coercion, depression

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