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The Correlation Between Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality Among Married Couples


I am heartily thankful to Almighty Allah, for giving me the strength and courage to successfully complete this research. I feel deeply indebted to my supervisor Dr., who guided me all the way and shaped my ideas for productive output. She generously gave time for discussion. Her enthusiasm, encouragement, keen interest, innovations, motivating attitude and tolerance in guiding me and in giving me valuable suggestions have added to my successful research work.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the participants for provision of the required information. I am thankful to the utmost to all the worthy authors of tools, for granting me permission to use their tools.

I am grateful to my Parents whose help and encouragement supported me through the bleakest moments of life and never allowed me to tire down and allow tides to roll me over.

Finally, I would like to thank my friends to help and guide me and the library staff of the Institute of Applied Psychology for their full cooperation and help in the acquisition of knowledge so crucial and yet the pivot in the entire process of research work.

Table of contents

Title Pg No.
Table of contents  
Lists of table  
List of appendices  
Chapter 1 1-26
Introduction 1
            1.1 personality traits 1
                        1.1.1 Major definitions of personality traits 3
                        1.1.2 components of personality traits 4
                           Consistency 4
                           Psychophysiological construct 4
                           Behaviors and actions 4
                           Environmental influences. 5
                           Culture 5
                           Birth order 5
                           Situational factors 6
                           Heredity factors 6
                        1.1.3 Types of personality 6
                           Extraversion 6
                           Openness to experience 7
                           Agreeableness  7
                           Conscientiousness  7
                           Neuroticism 7
                        1.1.4 Theoretical background 8
                           Trait theory 8
                           Five factor model theory 8
                           Psychoanalytic theorists 9
                           Behaviorists theorists 9
                           Cognitive theorists 10
                           Humanistic theorists. 10
                        1.1.5 Relationship of personality traits with conflict resolution styles                         and relationship quality 11
            1.2 Conflict resolution 11
                        1.2.1 Major definitions of conflict resolution 12
                        1.2.2 Components of conflict in marital couple 13
                           Communication 13
                           Miss understanding 14
                           Expectation 14
                           Sex 14
                           Resentments 14
                           Power abuse 15
                           Separate lives  15
                        1.2.3 Types of conflict resolution styles 15
                           Volatile 16
                           Validating  16
                           Avoidant 17
                           Hostile 17
                        1.2.4 Theories of conflict resolution 18
                           Theory of cooperation and competition 18
                           Getting to yes approach theory  18
                           Conflict: Human needs theory 19
                        1.2.5 Relationship of conflict resolution styles with relationship quality 20
            1.3 Relationship quality 21
                        1.3.1 Major Definitions of relationship quality 22
                        1.3.2 Components of relationship quality 22
                           Respect 22
                           Honesty 23
                           Mutual trust 23
                           Communication 23
                           Accumulate moments 23
                           Common interests 24
                        1.3.3 Theories of relationship quality 24
                           Relationship quality on the continuum of 5 Cs 24
                           Social exchange theory 25
                           Knapp relationship model 25
Chapter II 27-39
Literature Review 27
            2.1 Personality traits and relationship quality 27
            2.2 Conflict resolution styles and relationship quality 30
            2.3 Personality traits and conflict resolution styles 32
            2.4 Indigenous researches 34
            2.5 Rational of the study 38
            2.6 Objective of the study 38
            2.7 Research hypothesis 39
Chapter III 40-45
Method 40
            3.1 Research design 40
            3.2 Sample 40
                        3.2.1 Inclusion criteria 40
                        3.2.2 Exclusion criteria 40
            3.3 Operational definition 41
                        3.3.1 Personality traits 41
                        3.2.2 Conflict resolution 41
                        3.3.3 Relationship quality 41
            3.4 Assessment measures 41
                        3.4.1 Big Five Inventory (BFI) 42
                        3.4.2 Romantic Conflict Style Scale (RCSS) 42
                        3.4.3 Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS) 42
                        3.4.4 Demographic Information Sheet 43
            3.5 Procedure 44
            3.6 Ethical considerations 45
            3.8 Statistical analyses 45
Chapter IV 46-58
Results 46
            4.1 Summary of the results 57
Chapter V 59-67
Discussion 59
            5.1 Conclusions 66
            5.2 Limitation and suggestions 67
            5.3 Implications 67
References 68-77

Lists of Tables

Tables Page. No
Table 3.1        Table of demographics  
Table 4.1        Descriptive Statistics and Cronbach’s alpha Reliability                         Analysis of variables  
Table 4.2        Pearson Product Moment Correlation of Personality trait, Conflict resolution styles and Relationship quality  
Table 4.3        Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analysis: Effect of Demographic variables, Personality traits, Conflict resolutions  
Table 4.4        Independent Sample t-test for comparing rural and urban on Personality traits, Conflict resolution styles and Relationship quality  
Table 4.5        Independent Sample t-test for comparing nuclear and                         joint family system on Personality traits, Conflict                              resolution styles and Relationship quality  
Table 4.6        Independent Sample t-test for comparing love and                           arranged marriages on Personality traits, Conflict                              resolution styles and Relationship quality  
Table 4.7        Independent sample t- test comparing male and female on Personality traits, Conflict resolution styles and Relationship quality  

List of Appendices

Appendix A Permission of scales
Appendix B Consent form
Appendix C Demographic sheet
Appendix D Questionnaires
Appendix E Plagiarism report


The current research was designed to examine the correlation among personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. It was hypothesized that:there is likely to be a significant relationship between, personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples; personality traits and conflict resolution styles are likely to predict relationship quality among married couples; there is likely to be significant differences in demographics on study variables. Co relational research design and convenient sampling was used to recruit the sample of married couples of N=200. Translated versions of Big five inventory (John & Srivastava, 1999), Romantic conflict style scale (Steuber, 2005), and Relationship assessment scale (Hendricks, 1998) were used for assessment along with demographic questionnaire. Pearson Product Moment Correlation, Hierarchal Regression analysis and Independent sample t- test was used to analyze data. The results showed significant correlation among personality traits, conflict resolution and relationship quality among married couples. The regression analysis showed that personality traits i.e. extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness, and conflict resolution styles i.e. volatile, validating  hostile and avoidance are significant predictors of relationship quality. Results revealed significant statistical differences among urban and rural married couples and type of marriage on study variables. The findings of this research will be beneficial for family and marital counselors to incorporate the positively enhanced techniques in counseling marital couples to enhance their relational quality.

Chapter I


Marriage is a stage of transition in one’s life. Married couples enter into this institution with the thought to start their relationship which demands an excessive responsibility on the part of both husband and wife (Hogge, 2007). Marriage is not only the source of fulfillment for many desires but it also requires constant attention from both spouses.  Married couples experience many ups and downs in their life. There can never be perfection in any area of life, so is the marriage (Anastasi, 2005). We observe an ever-booming vibe of conflicts occurring in the married couples in recent times that has resulted mainly due to the complexities developed by individuals in their personalities. Although the word conflict would not generally be associated with constructiveness but to nurture a marital relationship in an efficient manner, a couple has to handle all conflicts positively. The most critical aspect that can become the significant cause for the development of conflicts in married couples is their inability to identify the reasons for conflicts and poor sense of resolving conflicts using constructive resolution styles (Esere, 2010). One has to adopt healthy conflict resolution strategies, to overcome disputes. This would not only sooth the differences in the varying personalities of the married couple but would also ensure that they cover their marital journey in the most lovable and ideal manner. Therefore the researcher aims to investigate the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among marital couples.

1.1 Personality traits

            In Psychology the word “personality” is a vast term. It is a combination of characteristics and qualities which give an individual a well-defined identity. These characteristics vary from person to person. Thus, personality grooming is herculean task and requires a great deal of time.Personality traits are defined as constant forms of thoughts, feelings, or actions that distinguish people from one another. It requires numerous efforts to stabilize and shape personality (Oliver & Laurence, 2008).  The word personality itself defines its meaning in an effective manner. Personality reflects the way in which a person behaves in certain circumstances and situations. All the human psychology studies plays an important role in identifying different aspects of the term personality. In simple words personality defines the solidity or weakness of someone’s character to face different challenges (Hindle & Smith, 2002). In other words personality is the accumulation of trademark, considerations, emotions, and practices that are associated with individuals (Marthewes & Martha, 2003). Personality is a dynamic and composed arrangement of attributes controlled by a man that remarkably impacts their relationships, surroundings, comprehension, feelings, inspirations, and practices in different circumstances (Fleeson, 2001). Personality refers to the instance of cogitations, opinions, societal conformities, and practices consistently presented later at certain time that clearly impacts one’s desires, self-discernments, qualities, and state of mind. It likewise forecasts individual reactions to other individuals, issues, and anxiety. But still there is no universal consensus on the definition of “personality” in psychology (John & Ian, 2012).

Personality includes stable and enduring traits that reveal themselves in various situations. Global assessments of personality have shown that the personality characteristics found among satisfied couples are different from those found among dissatisfied couples.Theory and research propose that the personality traits individuals bring to a relationship are related to marital quality and functioning. Because personality shapes the ways in which people interpret and respond to their circumstances, the traits of each partner can be expected to influence the interactions within a relationship (Robins, Caspi, & Moffitt, 2000). The behaviors associated with specific personality characteristics can contribute to tranquility or conflict in the relationship.

1.1.1 Major definitions of Personality traits.

There are innumerable definitions of personality defined by various authors given as follows:

Jung (1934) defines personality as a system of moods, feelings, activities and social patterns that changes one person from another. As cited in (Carducci, 2009). Funder (2000)alludes that personality is the forceful organization inside the individual of those psycho-physical structures that regulate his features, actions and thoughts. As cited in(Vasudeva, 2009). Personality traits can be explained as a set of characteristics signifying the way in which behaviors are compiled. At individual level personality traits refer to the distinctive attributes which a person adopts whether good or bad in order to activate one’s thought process and carry out different actions (Oates, 2006). In other words personality is an aggregate of physical, mental, enthusiastic, and social trademark (Fiske, 2009). Ellis (2004) characterizes personality as a total of activities of the individuals, and incorporates both explicit and implicit behaviors, mental aptitudes, intellect and competences. As cited in (Mangal, 2013).

1.1.2 Components of Personality traits.

As catalogued in the definitions above, that traits and patterns, thought and emotion make up an important part of personality. But it is not enough to conclude as there are innumerable other modules that make up one’s personality.

  • Consistency.

Fundamentally, human beings respond in the same ways or comparative routes in avariety of circumstances thus personality is consistent. The activities and actions of an individual have a pattern centered on his personality. In variety of different but someway interrelated circumstances, one would be likely to perform in the same or parallel method in reaction to the condition at hand(Richard, 2007).

  • Psychophysiological construct.

Another trademark is that personality is an aggregate of both mental and physical construct. Personality is a composed of both psychological and physiological activities. While most theorists claim that personality is an emotional matter, current research shows that genetic or somatic needs and mechanisms also makes and shapes up one’s personality (Kim, 2009).

  • Behaviors and actions.

Personality does not only basically influence how we transfer and behave in our environments, it likewise makes us act in definite ways. Personality is exposed in more than just behavior. It can likewise be found in our considerations, warm relationships,sentiments and other social connotations (Kim, 2009).

  • Environmental influences.

Environment also plays a vital role in shaping one’s personality. The things that circle and advance around us on a fixed basis regulate our personality. The civilization that we live in, the ethnic environment that we face every day, the community we get interrelated to, all contribute in determining our personality.Associations,communication, environment in the family, workplaces, societies all contribute in way or another as personality determinants.Environment shape an assortment of abilities, qualities, disposition and characters, they give the strong structures in which personality characteristics are communicated, and they supply the attribute markers from which personality attributes are surmised and characteristic levels are affirmed (Synder, 2000).

  • Culture.

The culture in which we survive in, that may comprise norms, customs, traditional practices, directions and rules, instances and standards, all are important determinants of personality.There has been some late civil argument over the subject of concentrating on personality in an alternate society. A few psychologist believes that personality comes completely from society and consequently there can be no significant study in cross-society study. Then again, others accept that a few components are shared by all societies and an exertion is being made to show the culturally diverse materialness of the big five (Sapir, 2004).

  • Birth order.

Birth order adds to the advancement of personality. Sulloway (2000) contends that first conceived are more principled, socially prevailing, less pleasing, and less open to new thoughts contrasted with later conceived. Vast scale studies utilizing arbitrary examples and self-report identity tests, on the other hand, have discovered milder impacts than Sulloway (2000) guaranteed, or no critical impacts of conception request on personality.

  • Situational influences.

Situational components do not actually make person’s identity in fact situational variables do adjust a man’s behavior and reaction time to time (Hogan & Johnson, 2006). Individual face many situation every day and thus shapes and mounds his behavior accordingly. The situational components can be usually watched when a man acts contrastingly and shows distinctive attributes and qualities. For example a couple’s behavior will be entirely unexpected when they are in gatherings when contrasted with when they are at home. Thus, situational components affect personality in a noteworthy manner. They regularly draw out the attributes of a man that are not usually seen (Staats, 2000).

  • Heredity components.

Heredity elements assume a critical part as the real determinants and variables of personality. Heredity components are the ones that are determined at the time of origination (Allport, 2009). These variables not just influence the physical elements of a man, however the insight level, mindfulness, sex, character, different acquired illnesses and strength level, all get influenced by them. Individual’s hereditary foundation has an in number impact on personality(Zukeman, 2005).          

1.1.3 Types of personality.

Comprehensively there exist five factors which depict a person’s personality. These five measurements are additionally referred as “Big Five” components, and the model is alluded to as five factors model likewise abbreviated as FFM explained below.

  • Extraversion.

Extroversion characteristics such as excitability, confidence, friendliness and emotive expressiveness. High social scorers seek out inspiration and the company of others, and are often active and verbose. They have a propensity to draw attention to them, and are excited about probabilities for enthusiasm. On the other hand, those scoring low on extroversion scale lack the social enthusiasm characteristic .Their silent behavior is not necessarily suggestive of nervousness, but rather indicates that they need less social inspiration and extra time alone than extraverts (John & Srivastava, 1999). Extraversion is associated with positive emotion, warmness, outward, movement and sociability. Probably a lack of these characteristics contributing to reduced friendliness, adverse emotion and less warmth leads to jealousy and anxiety that may contribute in poor marital relationship (Mohan and Singh 1985).

  • Openness to experience.

Thomas & Segal (2006) characterizes openness as abbreviate for “openness to experience.”  It refers to characteristics such as imagination, understanding, curiosity, emotion, rare thoughts and diversity of experience. It is a trait which differentiates between imaginative-creative people and those who are more straight and genuine. Those who score high on openness tend to be more original and conscious of their emotional state, as well as more likely to be logically curious and grateful of sculpture and beauty. On the contrary, those who score low on openness are more likely to hold outdated beliefs and prefer the basic and obvious over the complex and vague (Botwin et al., 1997).

  • Agreeableness.

Agreeableness is characterized by sympathy, faith, gentleness, selflessness, love, and other prosocial behaviors. These individuals incline to be obliging and thoughtful of others. They generally have a hopeful view of human nature and consider people to be essentially good. People scoring low on this subscale are often doubtful and aggressive and place self‐interest above cooperation with others. Sometimes their doubt causes them to be unfriendly and unhelpful towards their partners and cause downward spiral of marital satisfaction (Thomas & Segal, 2006).

  • Conscientiousness.

Conscientiousness  is normally linked with self‐control, goal oriented behavior and pensiveness. The trait influences how we control and implement our impulses. Those who score high on conscientiousness typically prefer deliberate rather than impulsive behavior, while those who score low on conscientiousness trait usually are described as impulsive (John & Sirvastava, 1999).

  • Neuroticism.

Neuroticism refers to an individual’s feelings and attitude. People scoring low on this subscale do not often experience harmful emotions, such as nervousness, moodiness, irritability, or depression. Those who score are mainly susceptible to stress and are rapid to react emotionally (Livesley, 2001). Studies shows that high neuroticism or frequent experience of negative emotion in either or both partners is poisonous in a marriage. Moreover neuroticism has a strong genetic component and increase a couple’s risk of divorce (Jockin, McGue & Lykken, 1996).

Comprehensively there are five fundamental personality traits which cover all the important dimensions that could be part of nature of humans. All of these five traits show how couples could have any one of these traits or even more than one at a time in resolving their issues. The study of personality traits revolve around generating the perception about couples behaviors and their significant impact on their marital quality. In short all the big five personality traits are a way to understand what possible dynamics a person’s nature can have, how they are influenced and what are the specific impacting factors of different personalities on a large scale that contribute to their relational quality.

1.1.4 Theoretical background

The investigation of personality has an expansive and shifted background in psychology with a wealth of hypothetical conventions. They are explained below.

  • Trait theory.

All port (1897- 1967) was the first psychologist who gave the idea of trait in studying personality. He built up his own trait theory and reviewed trait as the most proper method for depicting and mulling over personality. All port characterizes traits as a summed up and focalized neuropsychic (peculiar to the person), with the ability to render numerous boosts practically identical, and to intrinsic and aide reliable (proportional) type of versatile and expressive behavior. First, Allport depicts a traits as a neuropsyshic framework. He solidly accepts that trait is a genuine and exists inside of a man. He doesn’t imply that trait is a concept that we today call hereditary, in spite he viewed some of the traits as hereditary. He implies that trait makes behavior steady and that a trait is still there regardless of the possibility that there is nobody around to see, Second, trait direct the individual’s behavior, and makes the behavior reliable. As cited in (Engler, 2009).

  • Five factor model theory.

The five factor theory arranges personality characteristics in complete model of genetic and environmental setting. The theory sets that personality qualities are genetically based biological manners known as essential tendencies. Through interactions with environment essential tendencies offer our characteristic methods for considering, feeling and acting. As cited in (Heffernan, 2005).

  • Psychoanalytic theorists.

Psychoanalytic scholars clarify human behavior regarding the interaction of different parts of personality. Sigmund Freud (1987) the organizer of this school of thought sees three  noteworthy segments the id, ego, and super-ego were the real parts of this theory. Freud proposed five psychosexual phases of identity improvement. He accepted adult personality is dependent upon early childhood experiences controlled by the age of five. As cited in (Siegel, 2014). Adler (1913) did concur with Freud that early adolescence encounters are essential to development of personality and accepted birth order may impact personality advancement. Kohut (1917) thought correspondingly to Freud’s concept of transference. He utilized narcissism as a model of how individuals add to their feeling of self. Narcissism is the misrepresented feeling of one self in which one is accepted to exist to secure one’s low self-regard and feeling of uselessness. As cited in (Schultz & Schultz, 2009).

  • Behaviorists theorists.

Behaviorists clarify personality regarding the impacts outside stimuli have on behavior. Skinner (1846) set onwards a model which accentuated the shared collaboration of the individual or “the organic entity” with its surroundings. Skinner (1846) accepted kids do bad things in light of the fact that the behavior gets consideration that serves as a reinforcer. Pavlov (1848) is another eminent impact. He has no doubt understood for his classical conditioning including dogs. These physiological trainings drove him to find the establishment of behaviorism and additionally classical conditioning. As cited in (Schultz & Schultz, 2009).

  • Cognitive theorists.

Cognitive theorists are theorists of personality that accentuate subjective procedures, for example, rationality and judging. Bandura (1970) a social learning scholar recommended the strengths of memory and feelings worked in combination with environmental impacts. Mischel (1999) has additionally safeguarded a psychological way to deal with identity. His work alludes to “Cognitive Affective Units”, and considers components, for example, encoding of stimuli, affect, goal setting, and self-regulatory beliefs. The expression “Cognitive Affective Units” indicates how his methodology considers affects along with cognitions.Cognitive Experiential Self-Theory (CEST) is added cognitive personality theory. Grown by Epstein CEST contends that people work by method of two independent information processing systems, experimental and rational framework. As cited in (Beck, 2004).

  • Humanistic theorists.

Humanistic scholars underscores that individuals have free will and through freedom and that this assumes a dynamic part in deciding how individuals behaves. Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers were advocates of this perspective, which is based on “phenomenal field” theory of Combs and Snygg (1949). Maslow invested much of his energy examining what he called “self-actualizing persons”, the individuals who are “satisfying themselves and doing the best they are equipped for doing”. Maslow accepts all who are occupied with development move towards self-actualizing (development, satisfaction, and fulfillment). Maslow and Rogers stressed a perspective of the individual as a lively, creative, encountering individual who survives in the present-day and personally responds to present explanations, networks, and skills. As cited in (Hettema, 2007).

1.1.5 Relationship of personality traits with conflict resolution styles and relationship quality.

Personality corresponds to a type of approach an individual nominate to fix and reconcile their disputes, disagreements and conflicts with opposing member. Of course every individual holds and possesses his or her own discriminant or divergent suspicion, thoughts, apprehensions, notions and ideas that distinguish him from another. In other words every individual perceive different situations differently. Based on their perceptions, psyche, character, dispositions and temperaments individual plan miscellaneous schemes and approaches to give an end to their conflicts. One technique of resolving conflict may be affective for one couple but not for another for resolving identical conflict. A best approach chosen considering the sensitivity of time and situation in return affect the standard and quality of any bonding. A right decision to select a right approach to give closure to debate or conflict , not only considering your own personality but also the personality of your relational partner , a decision satisfying the both may greatly influence the quality if relationship.

1.2 Conflict Resolution

            Conflict is all around, truth is each relationship has conflict. It exists inside us. It exists around us. It is characteristic and inescapable piece of all human relationships. It happens at all levels of society, intrapsychic, interpersonal, intragroup, intergroup, intranational and universal (Sandole & Staroste, 2014). Conflict is a usual for human presence it is a portion of component of life that initiate us into what is to come. Nevertheless, it should be managed effectively, when associated with roughness, devastation and murdering it is no more a solid piece of living. Fierce conflicts breads more undesirable conflict to come (Deutsch & Coleman, 2006). Conflict has attributes of its own, and it is possible to break down its structure and manner in which it occurs. At the point when conflict is understood, it is less demanding to fit approaches to anticipate it, avoid it, change it and resolve it.

As per Gottman (2000) in light of health, physiology, behavior, affect, marital satisfaction, and the danger for relationship dissolution, there are two sorts of couples, regulated and non-regulated. Regulated and non-regulated couples contrast significantly regarding the matter of positivity and negativity. As Gottman states, non-regulated couples, those for whom the balance between positive and negative effective behaviors fails to increasingly favor positive effective behaviors over time, have marriages that appear, in many ways, to be much more dysfunctional than those of regulated couples. There are two types of non-regulated couples, hostile engaged and hostile-detached, as well as three types of regulated couples, avoidant, validating, and volatile.

Gottman (2000) contended that the relational style a couple utilize particularly when taking care of conflict. Relationship quality was found to exceedingly to associate with these conflict styles.If couples do not balance out this harmony, the marital biology is disturbed and patterns will feel frustrated or irritated and start to quarrel excessively.

  • 1.2.1 Major definitions of conflict resolution.

There are innumerable definitions of personality defined by various authors given as follows:

Donobue & Kolt (2015) characterizes conflict as a circumstance in which the individuals communicates contrasts in fulfilling their individual needs and hobbies and they encounter impedance from one another for achieving these objectives. Moreover Jordan (2003) states that conflict emerge when a contrast between couple’s necessities change,at least in one person in order for their engage to continue and develop the differences cannot coexist without resolution. Buehleret (2000) characterizes marital conflict the presence of abnormal state of contradiction, and unfriendly association between mates, discourtesy and verbal misuse. Cumming (2014) translates it as “any foremost or slight relational, collaboration that includes a distinction of feeling, whether in was mostly positive or mostly negative. Marital conflict alludes to every day collaborations, whether major or minor, in which couples have contrast of opinions. Consequently, ordinary marital conflict incorporates a scope of strategic and enthusiastic expression, both positive and negative (Zartman, 2001).

  • 1.2.2 Components of conflict in marital couple.

There may be numerous elements or modules that may contribute to grow conflicts in marital couples. Listing them down would require a great deal of time yet it could not be enough.

  • Miscommunication.

Fincham, Steven, Davila, Joanne and Beach(2004) felt that the most commonly reported part of conflict in relationship issue by a long shot is correspondence. This may be one of the broadest and most troublesome terms to characterize as to connections. It has a tendency to have various implications to each of us. Actually, this implies not understanding the other individual’s perspective. Abraham & Bruyne (2011) clarifies it as frequently more a matter of declining to permit the presence of the other’s perspective rather than not understanding it.

  • Misunderstanding.

A frequent reason for misunderstanding in relationship is uncertain things from youth i.e. if an individual is grown up in an uproarious, brutal or damaging environment, that individual’s reaction to conflict, arguing, or confrontation, would be essentially not quite the same as an individual whose home environment was skilled and healthy at conflict resolution (Carmer, 2010).

  • Expectations.

Fincham, Steven, Davila, Joanne and Beach (2004) consider expectations as one of the saddest set-ups in relationship. Entering into the relationship with various types of desires and afterward throughout the years, feeling disappointed over and over that they have not been met. This can be derived from a wide range of sources, not the least of which is the marriage. Glick (2001) states that this sort of exposure gets absorbed, some on a conscious level, and some at unconscious one. The most serious issue with expectations in general is that one may realize what his or her expectations are, but it unlikely that their partner does, significantly more tricky and disappointing is the point at which one has these expectations and even one cannot name them, yet one can expect that their partners will satisfy them.

  • Sex.

Campbell, James, Snow & Brent (2005) inspected that sex is common amongst the most widely recognized zones of conflict in numerous connections, however makes no mistake, it does not stand alone. Ruling out any physical or medical reasons for trouble, it is usually in some way a reflection of whatever state the relationship is in.

  • Resentments.

Feelings of resentments are the most obvious enemy of all relationships. They are a moderate toxic substance, undermining the adoration, trust and common regard one may have once had with one another. It is critical in the treatment of relationships to uncover these often unknown or unspoken feelings of resentments. Every individual is then in charge of finding the part they played in the making of these feelings of resentments alongside what they can do to improve themselves (Hawkins, Carrere & Gottman, 2004).

  • Power abuse.

Power abuse might likewise constitute to conflict. The unequal force distribution among couples and the diverse ways one utilization to claim their energy impacts significantly the number and nature of conflicts (Buss, 2007).

  • Leading Separate lives.

As per Levenson, John, Robert & Gottman (2013) driving separate lives is one other component of marital conflicts. Relationships likewise endure when couples do not mesh their lives through shared exercises, recreational companionship or spending enough time together. Living too freely from one another takes away association and joy from the relationships. Moreover, Gottman, John, Krokoff, & Lowell (2012) proposes that  couples need to counsel with one another about vital choices and coordinate their schedules. Time should be put aside to appreciate discussion, experiences, common interests,vacations and fun.

Conclusively whatever the nature, kind, classification, sort, class, description or type a conflict may have it must be resolved using healthy, worthwhile and productive mechanism and approaches, beneficial for both partners. One must have good sense to choose the best resolution style to resolve their issues to lead healthy and long lasting marital life.

1.2.3 Types of conflict resolution styles.

There are four types of resolution styles couples utilize to resolve their conflicts in their marriages that are described as follows:

  • Volatile.

Volatile couples see themselves as equivalents and accept that a relationship ought to highlight and reinforce singularity (Gottman, 2002). There is incredible trustworthiness in volatile relationships, about both positive and negative feelings, and the marriage stays enthusiastic and energizing all through its course. Volatile couples display dynamic engagement in conflict and are once in a while aloof and withdrawn. As opposed to talk about the issue sanely and hear one another’s perspectives, the volatile couple invests a large portion of their energy in a warmed endeavor to induce one another to change their perspective. As per Gottman (2000) volatile couples have eruptions when they disagree, yet the remaining parts of their marriage are warm and adoring. Fundamentally, the serious negative feelings are adjusted by extremely great degree of positive feelings. The volatile couple knows how to have emotional fights, yet they likewise know the estimation of enthusiastic, adoring compromises.

  • Validating.

A second regulated conflict style is the validating style (Gottman, 2007). These couples, even in the middle of contradiction, carry on in a manner that demonstrates that one another’s feelings and emotions are valid. Even when occupied with warmed and energetic civil arguments over much esteemed points, validators try to remain calm and display ease. The presence of mutual respect eliminates numerous problems that can afflict relationship. (Gottman, 2000). Likewise, validators generally participate in a gathering sort of discussion instead of a full scale verbal fight. The pattern exhibit inside of the validating style is moderately basic, every party listens completely to the others objection while indicating concern, followed by the phase of attempting to persuade one’s partner of the rightness of one’s person. Persuasive attempts are good and absence of refutation of one another’s perspectives and, in this manner, the positive influence dwarfs the negative influence (Gottman, 2000). Frequently, the couples taking part in the validating style end conflicts seeing one another better than anyone might have expected the conflict (Gottman, 2000). Fitzpatrick and Winke (2009) portrayed a validating style like Gottman’s volatile style where couples are regularly great companions and worth the pluralistic way of their marriage instead of the individual angles.

  • Avoidant.

The third directed conflict style, as per Gottman’s examination (2000) is avoidant. Avoidant couples are conflict minimizers and they generally agree on disagree. The conflict, then, gets to be uncertain. The avoidant couple will present the conflict and present their sides, yet they minimize endeavors to convince or persuade one another. Avoiders reaffirm the adoration and bliss they have in a marriage and concur that those positives overpower the greater part of issues they do not see eye to eye on. Like the other non- hostile styles, the avoidance conflict style does not continually use threatening vibe and the “marital ecology” remains suitably adjusted (Gottman, 2002).

  • Hostile.

The hostile couples show a lot of direct engagement in conflictual scenes (Gottman, 2002). Also, hostile partnership incorporate defensiveness by both partners. For instance, Gottman reported that one individual will use defensiveness, contempt, or personal criticism. All the time, arguments contain statements, for example, “you always” or “you never” and advance into associations that contain judging and blaming that intentionally personally attack a partner’s behavior  or character. The hostile detached couples display passionate separation and absence of association with one another. The hostile detached couple will get into brief attractions of attack and defensiveness. Hostile style disintegrates the marital ecology and prompts a descending winding (Filley, 2004).

1.2.4 Theories of Conflict Resolution.

Conflict resolution have formed hypothetical insights of knowledge into the nature of conflicts and how conflicts can be resolved through peaceful methods to effectuate solid relationships.

  • Theory of cooperation and competition.

Deutsch (1989) proposed the hypothesis of cooperation and competition. The hypothesis compares that valuable procedure of conflict resolution with a cooperative critical thinking process in which the conflict is the shared issue to be resolved cooperatively. It additionally equates a destructive procedure of conflict resolution with a competitive process in which the conflicting parties are included in a completion or struggle to figure out who wins and who lose. Often the result of this kind of struggle is a misfortune for both sides. The theory further demonstrates that a cooperative-constructive procedure of conflict resolution is gauged by typical effects of cooperation. As cited in (Agrwal & Nagar, 2011).

  • Getting to yes approach theory.

Fisher and Ury (1981) “getting to Yes Approach” provided an everyday guide to successful conflict resolution, Fisher and Ury have been at the forefront of developing effective and accessible methods for mediation and conflict resolution at the personal, local, national and international levels. The cornerstone of Fisher and Ury work is to help people consider strategies which help disputants in a conflict ensure a win-win solution. Their theory is placed in the context that most disputants in conflict attempt to resolve the issue by negotiating around positions rather than their underlying and potentially mutual interests and needs. The methodology behind their approach of helping people to become more effective mediators is broken down into several stages i.e. Do not bargain over positions,Separate people from the problem, Focus on interests rather on positions and invent options for mutual gain. As cited in (Bartos & Wehr, 2002).

  • Conflict: Human needs theory.

The most comprehensive work in the area of conflict resolution is in  Burton (1982) “Conflict: Human Needs Theory” This theory expresses that deep rooted  social conflicts springs from unsatisfied essential needs, and that the task of conflict resolution is to develop new methods for understanding and satisfying them. This model works on the reason that a precondition for the resolution of conflict is that key human needs be met. Burton embraced eight central needs and one further need he could call his own. Those embraced needs included control, security, justice, stimulation, response, meaning, rationality and esteem/recognition. Burton’s extra need was role defense, the need to defend one’s part. Burton called these ontological needs as he viewed them as a result of human nature, which were universal and would be pursued regardless of the consequence. Conflict couldn’t be determined until determining basic needs. Moreover Burton distinguished ontological needs from values and interests. He characterizes ontological needs as non-negotiable values as offering some constrained open doors for negotiation, and interests as negotiable issues. Burton distinguished conflict from the interrelated term of dispute. He characterized conflict as an activity over these non-negotiable human needs, though a dispute was over negotiable value. Burton recognizes conflict resolution, from the related terms of conflict management and conflict settlement. To Burton conflict resolution solved deep seemingly intractable issues, while settlement only addressed to superficial elements of conflict. As cited in (Mlchin & Pichard, 2009).

1.2.5 Relationship of conflict resolution styles with relationship quality.

Conflict in marriage is inevitable. Marriage is a union or legitimate contract among folks that makes kingship. It is a group in which interpersonal influences, typically private and sexual, are acknowledged in variety of ways, contingent upon the culture or subculture in which it found. Interpersonal conflict is regular and frequently inescapable component of individual relationship. Interpersonal conflict essentially is not an adverse and ruinous wonder, however the peculiarity in which it is determined or managed affects the nature of a large portion of the relationships.Of course one who adopts sane strategies to conclude their marital conflicts enhance the good quality of their relationship as compare to those who adopts destructive resolution strategies that negatively affects the quality of their relationship. On the other hand, many individuals are successful and upbeat in their relational unions, regardless of the conflicts that emerge. The way to their prosperity is the manner by which they handle their conflicts and differences. Conflict may give off an impression of being an issue to some, however this is not how conflict should be seen. Of course, it is an open entryway for advancement and can be a powerful strategy for opening up among relationships.

Most of research has indicated that it is not conflict that affects the relationship quality and stability, but how such conflict, when occurs within couples is handled and resolved (Heavy, 2005). In face some longitudinal research findings suggests that many couples benefit from disagreements and conflict , so much that couples who avoid it appear to be at higher risk for future marital distress and dissatisfaction (Markman, 2006). Every year, many marriages end in divorce, and many others continue in distressed and dysfunctional relationships. The inability of couples to handle and resolve their relationship problems and conflict when they arise has been viewed as important factor related to relationship dissatisfaction, maladjustment and relationship dissolution. Marital conflict if handled improperly may result in verbal abuse and physical abuse resulting in poor relationship quality (Stets, 2014).

1.3 Relationship Quality

The quality and solidness of marriage has critical results for our general society and for the physical and emotional prosperity of mates. Understanding the factors that give rise to variability in marital functioning is therefore important,nothing can bring more bliss to being than attractively satisfying relations. The complexity of meaning, understanding and appreciation that these types of relationships bring is almost profound. And, of course, as many people find out, nothing can take so much discomfort as a damaged affiliation with someone beloved to you. Yes, associations make the world go round.  For good or for bad individuals enter marital relationships because they attract one another. After they have formed a couple, relationship quality becomes a more important determinant of their decision to remain together. People dissatisfied with their relationships less often remain in them (Hendrick, 2013). Marital quality is comparable to marital satisfaction or relationship satisfaction. According to Glaser (2012), marital quality consists of two main factors, happiness and interaction, and disagreements, problems, and instability. Marital satisfaction summarizes the content of the first marital quality factor, the latter factor represents marital distress. Therefore, rather than opposite ends of a continuum, relationship satisfaction and relationship distress operate as separate variables. Relationship will be fulfilling for those people whose desires are met, while conversely, individuals whose connections are in congruent with their desires are going to feel disappointed (Pichard, 2002).

1.3.1 Major Definitions of relationship quality.

There are numerous definitions of relationship quality defined by various authors given as follows:

            Relationship quality has been defined as an ‘‘adjustment’’ “functioning” and “well-being” (Vangelisti, 2003). Lisa, Kazak, Anne, Jarmas, Audre and Snitzer(2000) refer to it as the “positive versus negative affect experienced in a relationship and is influenced by the extent to which a partner fulfills the individual’s most important needs”.In other words relationship quality alludes to an individual’s subjective ordeal of the marriage (Kaslow, 2001). Spanier and Lewis (2000) defines relationship quality by high adjustment, adequate communication, a strong commitment and an intensive satisfaction with the relationship.Likewise Bierhoff (2003) defines marital quality as the amount of quality time the couples have remained together.

1.3.2 Components of relationship quality.

There is a wide variety of elements that contribute towards the quality of relationship of married couples. It is not an overnight task to explain all possible modules and sections of marital quality as they are complex as well as numerous.

  • Respect.

A healthy relationship involves mutual respect. Respecting your mates implies, effectively listening to what they say and need, and attempting to comprehend their perspective. It likewise means esteeming their value as an individual and respecting what is important to them. At the point when respect is missing from a relationship, force gets to be imbalanced and one partner will rule over the other (Dilloway & Broman,2001).

  • Honesty.

A quality of relationship is determined by the honesty one has with his or her partner. Sound relationships flourish when both partners involve, offer who they genuinely are and what they really seek. Misdirection and control just obliterate a marital relationship(Xuanningfu, Tora, & Kendal,2001).

  • Mutual Trust.

Trust is the key element to a sound relationship. It expands holding, and includes more than simply being faithful or keeping partner confidences. Partner feels a feeling of security, which takes into account more elevated amounts of closeness and quality of relationship. (Buunk & Ybema, 2003).

  • Communication.

In a sound relationship communication is the vehicle through which couple shows their admiration, genuineness and trust. Communication has two fixings first unmistakably communicating your considerations, emotions, needs and wishes, and second effectively listening to the musings, sentiments, needs and wishes of your partner. Through communication, people learn about their partner and gain more profound comprehension of how to advance their relationship (Cobb & Bradbury, 2001).

  • Accumulation of Moments.

Whether moments with your partner are unexpected or planned, ordinary or monumental, simple or grand, revel in them. One must be actively present. Moments that help cultivate a sincere relationship require full attention. And by giving full attention, one is accelerating his or her relationship quality (Buunk & Ybema, 2003).

  • Common Interests.

Investing time engaging in activities that are charming to both partners makes a common affliction that can bring couples closer inwardly. Participating in pleasurable exercises makes partners calm and improves their marital quality (Cobb & Bradbury,2001).

1.3.3 Theories of Relationship quality.

The following are the theories on importance of relationship quality in married couples.

  • Relationship quality on the continuum of 5 Cs.

Robert Sternberg’s (2002) provides simple guides of thinking about long-term relationships. The idea is to think about your long term relationship quality as being on a continuum that ranges from conflicted to civil to cordial to close to connected.

First Connected is the most intimate, deep and fulfilling sense of relationship quality. Second Close refers to the normal state of happy couples. It is when each partner feels supported, known and valued. Third Cordial is a friendly, relaxed state of being comfortable with one’s partner, but on closer inspection it is notably more distant beneath the surface than being close or connected. Fourth Civil is most notable for the lack of warmth, and couples whose feelings of romantic love have long since left the marriage find themselves in the civil domain Finally, Conflicted is when there are strong deep-seated differences in values, interests, patterns, and the frequent conscious experience that the relationship is fundamentally failing to meet one’s needs. In short, this continuum of relationship quality provides a useful, straightforward way for individuals to think clearly about where their relationship stands. As cited in (Peterson & Bush, 2012). Social exchange theory.

Social Exchange Theory was proposed by Homans (1958). As indicated by Social Trade Hypothesis “give and take” frames the premise of all connections however their extents may fluctuate according to the power of the relationship. As indicated by Social exchange theory sentiments and feelings should be responded for a fruitful and dependable relationship. Relationships can never be uneven. An individual puts his time and energy in relationships just when he receives something in return. As cited in(Burr, 2007). Knapp relationship model. Knapp (1938) model clarifies how connections develop and last furthermore how they end. This model is ordered into ten distinct stages which go under two interrelating stages are Knapp’s relationship acceleration model and Knapp’s relationship end model. This serves to see how a relationship advances and break down. Different levels of pace and changed time between every step can be seen and experienced when a relationship develops. The steps can be even skipped out while the progression or decay of a relationship. As cited in(Fine & Finchman, 2001).

            In a sum personality types are related to conflict resolution styles and marital quality, satisfaction and adjustment behaviors. The above mentioned theoretical frameworks indicate that personality traits and conflict resolution styles provide basis for relationship quality but there need to explore the specific dimensions the three variables are related to each other, more enlightenment arises from the literature described in next section.

Chapter II

Literature Review

There is an outgoing concern about the role of personality, conflict resolution as predictors of relationship quality of married couples. In order to consider the possible link between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality it is important to review and systematically arrange the relatively considerable amount of literature on personality traits and conflict resolution styles by providing and understanding explanation of the types of conflict married couples face due to the complexities in their personalities that ultimately affect their relationship quality.

2.1 Personality traits and relationship quality

Cooper, Harris and Kristina (2002) studied the relationship of discrete personality constructs as associates of relationship quality. Results demonstrated that personality was found to be likewise predictive of happiness, positive affect and life satisfaction, but significantly less predictive of negative affect among marital couples. When personality traits were grouped according to the Big Five factors, Neuroticism was the solidest predictor of life satisfaction, happiness, and negative affect. The traits most closely associated with relationship quality were trust, emotional stability, and repressive-defensiveness locus of control-chance, private collective self-esteem, and tension.

Kelly, Lowell, Conley and James (2000) gauged the relationship between marital stability and marital satisfaction. The sample comprised of (N= 300) white couples who were followed from their engagements in the 1930’s until 1980. Personality characteristics that were measured by acquaintance ratings scale were important predictors of both marital stability and marital satisfaction. Results illustrated that 3 aspects of personality most sturdily linked to marital outcome were the neuroticism of the husband, the neuroticism of the wife, and the impulse control of the partner.

David and Todd (2006) lead a research to examine the personality features that are most important in mates and whether men and women showed differences in their personality preferences or whether individual women or men differ in what they want, and whether individuals actually get what they want. They conducted two equivalent studies, one using a sample of dating couples (N= 118) and one using a sample of married couples (N= 216). The sample that was accessed through five-factor model to assess personality characteristics. The findings of the study were dependable across both studies.  Individuals differed in which characteristics they desired, preferring mates who were similar to themselves and actually obtaining mates who embodied what they desired. Moreover women stated a greater preference than men for a wide array of socially desirable personality traits. The personality characteristics of one’s partner significantly predicted marital and sexual dissatisfaction, most notably when the partner was lower on Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Intellect-Openness than desired.

Robins, Richard, Caspi, Avshalom, Moffitt and Terrie (2000) conducted a research to probe the relationship between Big Five Personality variables and relationship constructs. The results revealed that neuroticism was negatively correlated with relationship satisfaction and happiness; neurotics experience negative emotions like anxiety, impulsivity, anger and hostility. They have negative attitude towards the word and the life events. Extraversion and agreeableness has positive correction satisfaction and intimacy. Extroverts experience positive emotions warmth and assertiveness and individuals with agreeableness personality traits are straight forward. The qualities of agreeable and extroverts make them satisfied and happy in their relations.

Brent, Rand and Chalandra (2004)exposed the relationship between couples stable personality variables associated with interpersonal competencies and marital satisfaction with conflict resolution style as the mediating factor. Eighty-three newlywed couples contributed in the study at 6 points over 5 years at 1-year intervals. The results indicated solid mediational effects across time. In particular, conflict resolution styles appeared to form during the 1st year of marriage and are habituated thereafter to a large extent. The relationship personality variables agree closely with conflict resolution styles, which in turn impact marital satisfaction.

Hayes and Joseph (2003) examined the role of personality types in estimating the level of marital satisfaction. One hundred sixty-four married couples completed questionnaires on the NEO (Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness) Personality Inventory-Revised to determine their personality types and ENRICH (Enriching Relationships Issues, Communication and Happiness). The two-way ANOVA test showed that the entrepreneurial and hedonistic personality types, both men and women, which are characterized by a combination of low neuroticism and high extroversion, presented higher scores on marital satisfaction. Among males, the sceptical type gained the same level of marital satisfaction as the hedonistic type. Conversely, sceptical women reported the least marital satisfaction scores. Moreover, among men, the insecure type, which is a combination of high neuroticism and low extroversion, reported the lowest marital satisfaction; among women, the insecure type reported a level of marital satisfaction just above that of the skeptical type. This research could open a new window for premarital studies.

2.2 Conflict resolution styles and relationship quality

            Lawrence (1995) studied the link between husbands and wives use of three conflict resolution styles (conflict engagement, withdrawal, and compliance) and change in each spouse’s marital satisfaction over a two year period. The sample was 155 married couples who concluded three annual surveys. Results illustrated that Spouses time-1 conflict resolution styles predicted change in only husbands’ marital satisfaction, while spouses time-one marital satisfaction did not predict change in conflict resolution styles for either spouse, and change in spouses conflict resolution styles, especially the frequency with which wives used conflict engagement and husbands used withdrawal, was linked to change in each spouse’s marital satisfaction. Overall, husband’s marital satisfaction was more frequently affected by how their wives resolved conflict than wives’ marital satisfaction was affected by how their husbands resolved conflict.

Knudson, Roger, Sommers and Alison (2001) conducted a research in which 33 married couples were videotaped while recreating a conflictual interaction that had occurred previously. Results showed that the interpersonal perceptions of couples who resolved the conflict by appealing the issue at hand were contrasted with those of couples who resolved the conflict via avoidance. Significant differences were found between the groups, suggesting that engaging the issue was associated with an increase in spouse’s access to one another’s interpersonal perceptions, whereas avoidance was associated with decreases in consensually valid observations.

Abraham and Bruyne (2011)aimed to investigate whether there is one conflict management style that correlated more significantly with marital satisfaction than any other. In addition, spousal satisfaction with how marital conflict is managed was also examined, as were gender differences. Fifty-seven couples who had been married for at least 10 years took part in the study. Results showed that the collaborative conflict management style has the highest correlation with both marital satisfaction and spousal satisfaction with conflict management in the marriage. In contrast, where one or both of the spouses used the competitive conflict management style, the lowest marital satisfaction was reported. The results were also interpreted in terms of cultural and gender differences.

The problem of the study conducted by Carmer (2010) was to determine the relationship between indicator scores in the area of marital satisfaction and five conflict styles among Bulgarian-American spouses. The study also sought to determine the relationship between marital satisfaction and a selected set of predictor variables. The first multiple regression analysis showed that only one of the five variables (i.e., integrating) was a significant positive predictor of marital satisfaction of Bulgarian-American spouses. However, the other four variables (obliging, dominating, avoiding and compromising) were not found to have a significant relationship to marital satisfaction of these subjects. The second multiple regression analysis showed that only two of the eight variables had a significant relationship with marital satisfaction of these subjects. Those two variables were time spent together and absence of premarital cohabitation where time spent together had a significant positive relationship to marital satisfaction, and premarital cohabitation had a significant negative relationship to the marital satisfaction score. The other six variables, age at marriage, income, presence of children at home, marital duration, and level of education were not found to have a significant relationship to the marital satisfaction score.

2.3 Personality traits and conflict resolution styles.

Schneewind and Gerhard (2002)examined the relationship between interpersonal conflict and personality types selected from Big Five model. In general, personality dimensions (extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism) were related to interpersonal conflict. The study was aimed to uncover the moderating role of personalities to reduce conflict. The study was cross sectional and survey research design was used. Correlation, regression and moderation were applied to analyze the impact of personality traits on interpersonal conflict and their moderating nature. The moderating role of personality is identified as results are significant for conscientiousness and neuroticism whereas insignificant for extraversion.

Bono, Boles, Judge and Lauver (2005) investigated the relationship between personality trait and conflict resolution strategies of spouses in Makurdi, Nigeria. The research design employed was ex-post facto survey design. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used to select two hundred participants made up of 100 males and 100 females. Two standardized psychological instruments were used namely: Conflict Resolution Strategies Scale (CRSS) and The Big five Inventory (BFI). Results indicated a significant interactive relationship between personality traits and conflict resolution strategies of spouses. It was then recommended that counselors should put into consideration the personality traits when issues of conflicts arise with a view of assisting spouses in adopting helpful resolution strategies.

Conflicts are one of the indispensable parts of marital life. Corcoran and Mallinckrodt (2000) paper aimed to examine relationship between personality traits and preferred conflict handling style. Big five traits model are selected for personality assessment. Big five personality factors are extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, emotional stability and agreeableness. Conflict handling styles are compromising, competing, avoiding, accommodating and collaborating. This paper covers two personality traits Extraversion and Openness to experience and only two conflict handling styles i.e. avoiding and competing. A total of 300 married couples are randomly selected for data collection. Description and correlation is used for analysis. Findings suggest that there was a significant relationship between personality type and conflict handling style adopted by individuals.

2.4 Indigenous researches

In general terms indigenous researches are the research on the variable which show the cause and consequences of the study variables and its implications on our general society. Below mention researches indicate the implications of study variables on Pakistani population.

Dildar, Sitwat and Yasin (2000)conducted a study that aimed at exploring the marital conflicts and conflict resolution styles in dis-satisfied married couples (DMC). Sample consisted of five dis-satisfied married couples in district Gujrat, Pakistan. Convenient purposive sampling was used for selection of couples. Kansas Marital Satisfaction (KMS) Scale was used to assess dissatisfaction in marriage. Semi-structured interviews were conducted separately for husbands and wives at different times. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes across dis-satisfied married couples and these were grouped under the relevant conflict resolution styles.Findings suggested that both spouses of dis-satisfied married couples actively use avoiding style of conflict resolution whereas both do not use accommodating, collaborating or compromising styles. However, competitive style is mostly used by dis-satisfied husbands who indicate the dominant nature of males in our culture. Findings are significant in area of marital counseling to develop healthy conflict management skills to promote satisfaction in marriage.

            The fundamental purpose of the study conducted by Taheri, Jafarian, Yazdanpoor (2009) was to investigate the relationship between personality traits and marital satisfaction. The overall and statistical population of study consists of 120 couples in Sari who was selected from the population of interest by random sampling. The present research adopted a quantitative approach in discovering the relationship between personality traits and marital satisfaction. Data were collected based on two instruments entitled “NEO-PI personality traits” which has been designed based on some underlying factors including neuroticism, extraversion, openness ,agreeableness,conscientiousness as important predictors of marital satisfaction and marital satisfaction (IMS). The subsequent data analyses via Pearson correlation revealed that each of the personality components has a significant relationship with marital satisfaction. The results showed that there was a significant negative correlation between neuroticism and marital satisfaction. Meanwhile, analysis showed that strongest positive link is between extraversion and marital satisfaction.

Abraham and Tanya (2013) aimed at investigating antecedents of marital stability and marital satisfaction.This was discovered with a panel of 300 couples who were followed from their engagements in the 1980’s until 2000. 22 of the couples broke their engagements; of the 278 couples who married, 50 got divorced between 1980 and 2000. Personality characteristics were significant predictors of both marital stability and marital satisfaction. The 3 features of personality most strongly related to marital conclusion were the neuroticism of the husband, the neuroticism of the wife, and the impulse control of the husband. The residual variance was accounted for by attitudinal, social-environment, and sexual history variables.

Mahmood and Najeeb (2013) conducted a research to evaluate the relationship between personality traits, infidelity and marital satisfaction among married men and women. Sample comprised of 90 couples out of which 45 married men and 45 married women. Big Five Inventory and Infidelity Scale and translated version of Comprehensive Marital Satisfaction scale were administered to measure personality traits, infidelity and marital satisfaction respectively. Results designate that level of infidelity was high among men than women while the level of marital satisfaction among women was higher than men. A significant relationship was found among personality traits and infidelity, there was significant relationship between personality traits and marital satisfaction while there was significant relationship between infidelity and marital satisfaction.

Nawaz, Javeed, Haneef, Tasaur and Khalid (2014) investigated the relationship between personality trait, gender, duration of marriage, and conflict resolution strategies. The research design employed was ex-post facto survey design. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were utilized to select two hundred participants made up of 100 males and 100 females. Two standardized psychological instruments were used specifically: Conflict Resolution Strategies Scale (CRSS) and The Big five Inventory (BFI). Data was examined using independent t-test, One-way Anova and multiple regressions. Results exhibited that while personality traits and gender showed significant relationship, duration of marriage had no significant relationship with conflict resolution strategies of spouses. The findings also showed a significant interactive connection between personality traits, duration of marriage, gender and conflict resolution policies of spouses. It was then suggested that counselors should put into consideration the interplay of personality traits, duration of marriage, and gender when issues of conflicts arise with a view of assisting spouses in adopting helpful resolution strategies.

Mohsen, Adnan, Sultan andSabira (2013) searchobserves the role of negative affectivity and conflict styles on newlywed couples marital satisfaction. The vulnerability-stress-adaptation (VSA) model of marital development was used to elucidate associations between enduring vulnerabilities, adaptive processes, and marital quality. Dyadic analyses and tests of mediation were performed on data from 194 couples in the first 5 years of their marriage. Results specify that wives negative affectivity is significantly allied with their own lower marital satisfaction and husbands lower marital satisfaction. However, husband’s negative affectivity is merely associated with their own lower marital satisfaction. For all spouses, negative affectivity was related with a tendency to engage in more dysfunctional conflict styles. Tests of mediation specify that to a lesser extent and positive problem solving, conflict engagement, and withdrawal were able to partially explain the relationship between negative affectivity and marital quality. This study claims the impact communication processes have at a dyadic level in marital relationships.

There has been wealth of studies done on the issues and types of conflicts among married couples and its effect on marital quality of couples with different personalities. Various researchers found that extraversion and agreeableness are positively related to better relationship quality. The thorough analysis of above mentioned literature also provides the basis that neurotic personalities are likely to lessen the satisfaction among their marital relationship. In this manner while it is clear that constructive conflict resolution styles are positive predictors of relationship quality, it is likewise clear that negative conflict styles e.g. avoidance and hostile conflict resolution style are negative predictor of relationship quality. Every above examination demonstrates that personality traits, conflict resolution styles couples adopt impacts relationship quality of married couples.

2.5 Rational of the study

The purpose of this study is to explore and investigate a relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and quality of relationship among married couples.Conflict is a major hindrance in stability of marriage, as inevitable as it appears to be, it depends on different characteristics of personality, and how conflict is managed in relationships. Apart from the personality differences in conceptualizations to deal with the marital discords or disagreements, conflict resolution styles hold a prominent position in determining where marriage stands. Over the period of time, in our society we have experienced that married couples are more likely to experience conflictual situations with each other due to the fact that two of them belong to different family units and they have groomed and shaped their personalities in two non-identical contexts. Their personalities and lifestyles differ on many aspects and one or another has to compromise over the preferences of the partner, that sometime becomes herculean task for couples that ultimately affect their marital functioning, therefore the researcher found it noteworthy to study personalities and type of strategies a couple adopt to overcome conflicts in married couples rather than studying any other intimate relationship. The findings of this research will also be beneficial for family and marital counselors to incorporate the positively enhanced techniques in counseling marital couples to enhance their relational quality.

2.6 Objectives of the study

  • To explore and investigate the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles, and relationship quality among married couples.
  • To postulate new combinations of personality types-conflict resolutions styles that is related with good relationship quality.
  • To find out the predictors of relationship quality among married couples.
  • To encourage the scope of counseling for married couples.

2.7 Research Hypotheses

  • There is likely to be a significant relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples.
  • Demographic variables have significant associations with personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples.
  • Demographics, personality traits and conflict resolution styles are likely to predict relationship quality among married couples.
  • There is likely to be significant differences among urban and rural married couples on personality traits,conflict resolution styles and relationship quality.
  • There is likely to be significant differences among nuclear and joint family system on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples.
  • There is likely to be significant differences among loved and arranged married couples on personality traits, conflict resolution and relationship quality.
  • There is likely to be significant gender differences on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples.

2.8 Proposed Hypothetical model

The Correlation Between Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality Among Married Couples

Chapter III


The present study investigated plausible factors that contribute towards marital quality and ultimately improve marital quality. The variables that are under investigation i.e. personality traits and conflict resolution styles will have its outcome on marital quality. This study found the relation among personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality in married couples.

3.1 Research design

            Correlational research design was employed to find out the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality in married couples. Cross – sectional research design was employed.

3.2 Sample

            The sample consisted of (n=100) married couples accessed from family units of Lahore. Non probability sampling strategy was used. Within non- probability sampling strategy, convenient sampling technique was used because the sample was to be contingent upon the availability and consent of the participants. The sample was drawn on the basis of following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

3.2.1 Inclusion criteria

  • The married couples with intact marriages were eligible for this study.
  • At least five years duration of the marriage may have elapsed.
  • Married couples with at least one child were selected.

3.2.2 Exclusion criteria

  • Childless married couples were not the part of this study.
  • Married couples with any disability were precluded from the sample.
  • Married couples living in separate homes were excluded.
  • Second time married men or women were excluded.

3.3 Demographic Information Sheet

            Demographic information questionnaire includes age, family system, residence, family income, number of dependents, occupation of husband and wife, monthly income, number of children’s, type of marriage and duration of marriage.

Table 3.1

Descriptive of sample characteristics for male (N= 100)

Characteristics f(%) M(SD)
            Male 100(100)  
Age 40.89(9.55)
            Teaching 9(9)  
            Doctor 6(6)  
            Business 30(30)  
            Other 55(55)  
Monthly Income 45410.00(28872.44)
            Primary 4(4)  
            Matric 20(20)  
            Intermediate 9(9)  
            Bachelors 13(13)  
            Masters 16(16)  
            Above 38(38)  
No of dependents





            Urban 91(91)  
            Rural 9 (9)  
Family system  
            Nuclear 60(60)  
            joint 40(40)
No. of children





Duration of marriage









Type of marriage
            Arranged married 74(74)
            Love married 26(26)

Table 3.2

Descriptive of sample characteristics for female (N=100)

Characteristics f(%) M(SD)
            Female 100(100)  
Age 36.38(9.78)
            Housewife 77  
            Teaching 6(9)  
            Doctor 7(6)  
            Business 6(30)  
            Other 4(55)  
Monthly Income 45410.00(28872.44)
            Illiterate 2
            Primary 4(4)  
            Matric 19(19)  
            Intermediate 13(13)  
            Bachelors 41(41)  
            Masters 7(7)  
            Above 14(14)  
            Urban 91(91)  
            Rural 9 (9)  
Family system  
            Nuclear 60(60)  
            joint 40(40)
No. of children





Duration of marriage









Type of marriage
            Arranged married 85(85)
            Love married 15(15)

3.4 Operational definitions of study variables

The variables included in this research were personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. They are operationally defined as;

  • 3.4.1 Personality traits

John and Srivastava (1999) defines personality as the characteristics of person that account for consistent patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. Big five factors which includes extraversion, consciousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness are basic scales of personality. Personality traits are assessed by the Big Five Inventory developed by John and Srivastava (1999).

  • 3.4.2 Conflict resolution styles

Conflict resolution styles are operationally defined as relation style a person employs while handling conflict with partner measured by the dominant average of Gottman’s four conflict resolution styles in RCSS (Stueber, 2005).

  • 3.4.3 Relationship quality

            According to Hendricks (1998) quality of relationship is operationally defined as how well a partner meets one’s need, and one’s regret about the relationship. It was measured by relationship Assessment Scale developed by Hendricks (1998).

3.5 Operational definition of demographic variables

  • 3.5.1 Rural married couples

            Couples who belong to rural context but have shifted to cities.

3.4.2 Urban married couples

Couples who entirely belong to urban context.

3.6 Assessment Measures

   The following assessment measures were used to assess the variables:

  1. Big Five Inventory (John & Sirivastava, 1999)
  2. Romantic Conflict Style Scale (Stueuber, 2005)
  3. Relationship Assessment Scale (Hendricks, 1998)
  4. Demographic Information Sheet.
  • 3.6.1 Big Five Inventory (BFI)

The big five inventory was developed by John and Srivastava (1999), the inventory consists of 44 brief personality descriptors to which the test taker responds with the degree of agreement or disagreement on a five point likert scale which includes strongly disagree, disagree a little, neither agree nor disagree, agree a little, strongly agree. 5 subscales scores are calculated. Items 1, 6,11, 16,21,26,31,36 are of extraversion. Items 2, 7, 12, 17, 22, 27, 32, 37, 40 measures agreeableness. Items 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28, 33, 38, 43 are of conscientiousness. Items 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, 29, 34, 39 accesses neuroticism and items 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 41 are of openness. Reverse coding procedures are also present. The reliability of different traits is extraversion .90, conscientiousness .85, agreeableness .85, neuroticism .88 and openness .84. Norms for adults are also present. The translated version of the scale is used in this study. The scale is also been used in the article Relationship among Personality Traits and Conflict Handling Styles of Call Center Representatives and Appraisal of Existing Service Model. The internal consistency reliabilities were adequate for all five BFI scales. All test-retest correlations were greater than .75 in both adult participant sub-samples. The BFI scales showed adequate convergent-discriminant validity coefficients. These findings suggest that the BFI is a succinct measure of the Big Five personality traits and it provides satisfactory reliability and validity data (Fossati, Borroni, Marchione & Maffei, 2011).

  • 3.6.2 Romantic Conflict Style Scale (RCSS)

Romantic Conflict Style Scale was developed by Steuber (2005) contains statements derived from the Relationship Evaluation (RELATE) questionnaire developed by Holamn (1997) which is revised version of the Preparation for Marriage (PREP-M) questionnaire constructed by Holman and Jarvis, 2003 intended to operationalize relational conflict style. The questionnaire is constructed on the theoretical framework of Gottman’s conflict typology consisting of four conflict resolution techniques employed in relationships. The scale consists of total 15 items, having four subscales of conflict handling style. Items 3, 10, 6, 14, 13 were of validating. Items 7, 12, 2 were for avoidant. Items 9, 8, 1, 5 were of volatile and items 4, 11, 15 were of hostile conflict resolution style. The Cronbach’s alpha reliability for subscales volatile,validating, avoidant and hostile in RCSS were .715 .788. 470. 526 respectively. The translated version of this scale was used in this study (Steuber, 2005).

  • 3.6.3 Relationship Assessment Scale(RAS)

            Relationship assessment scale is a tool to measure relationship quality. The scale has been frequently used ordinal scale survey on relationship quality that has been rigorously tested for both reliability and validity using classical test theory methods and with longer measure of relationship quality. Relationship assessment measures general relationship quality, how well a partner meets one and other need, how well a relationship compares to others and one’s regrets about certain relationship. It consists of ten statements and comprises of likert scale measure that deals with a single factor or global construct. Each item has 5 possible responses (a, b, c,d,and e) ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree well. The mean inter- item correlation for the original sample was .49 consisting of Cronbach’s alpha standardized a= .87 and unstandardized a= .86 for classical test theory. The test –retest reliability was .85 for RAS. Items 4 and 7 are reverse score where scored where (a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4, e=5). Mean core is taken by adding the scores and dividing by 10. High score i.e. more than 10 on this scale shows high quality of relationshipand low scores i.e. less than 10 shows low quality of relationship. The translated version of this scale was used in this study (Hendricks, 1998).

3.7 Translation procedure

Big five inventory (John & Srivastava, 1999), Romantic conflict style scale (Steuber, 2005) and relationship assessment scales (Hendricks, 1998) were developed in English language.  So it was difficult to use these scales in Pakistani researches because less educated participants in research cannot correctly respond on these items. The purpose of translation in native language was to make language easy so that everyone could understand it easily.  Because of cultural differences it is difficult for everyone to understand the other cultures languages.

Procedure for Translation

The steps that were followed in translating BFI, RCSS and RAS are given below (MAPI Institute, 2012).

  • Step 1: Conceptual Definitions

Original instrument was thoroughly reviewed to simplify the idea, examine through every item of the unique apparatus.

  • Step 2: Recruitment and Briefing

This step involved the recruitment and briefing of a consultant from the country of the target language to supervise the translation process. The research supervisor supervised the whole research as well as translation process.

  • Step 3:  Forward Translation          

The aim of this process was to obtain a translation of an original instrument in a target language (Urdu) that was both conceptually equivalent to the original instrument as well as easily understandable for the people who give response on this scale. According to MAPI guidelines, two forward translations were obtained from two bilingual persons who were native speakers of the target language and fluent in the source language. The purpose was to obtain a consensus target language version. The consensus was developed in a meeting with supervisor between the two forward translations. And that translation was given preference which completed the meaning behind the items in English and on which there was a mutual consent too. Every effort was made by the translators to stay as close to the literal meaning behind the item as they can. In that way, a final version of Urdu translation was completed.

  • Step 4: Backward Translation

The purpose of backward translation was to obtain a translation into English (source language) of the target language version (Urdu). For this purpose, two backward translations were done.  Then researchers and supervisor develop consensus to make a final version of both English translations for comparing it with the original one. After getting a final version of backward translation, it was then compared with the original version of the scales.

  • Step 5: Proof Reading

The aim of proof reading was to guarantee so as to no style spelling or grammatical error stay in the target language version.

3.8 Procedure

      First of all the researcher obtained permission from the authors of the original measures to use them in the current study. Synopsis was approved from board of studies (BOS). Using a convenience sampling the researcher visited to find out married couples as the optimum sample for research from random family units in Lahore. Researcher selected participants on the basis of inclusion and exclusion criteria. To begin the data gathering process, a cover letter explaining the purpose of the study was facsimiled to the respective couples to solicit their approval and cooperation in study. Prior appointments were obtained from couples who will be given the questionnaire to complete at their own time and leisure. Consent of participants, to be a part of the study, was taken and then they were informed about nature of the research. Confidentiality of the information regarding the results was assured to participants. It was also being assured to the participants that their information will be used purely for purpose of the research and they can withdraw from the research any time during the research process. Then, participants were given all the measures in random order followed by a demographic form. After data collection, questionnaires was be scored and quantitatively measured.

3.9 Ethical Considerations

In order to conduct this research, following ethical considerations were kept in mind.

  1. Preceding permission of the tool being used was required from the respective authors. Letters for permission were being sent. Urdu translated Versions of tools were used after getting permission from their representative authors.
  2. The consent was taken from the participants and they were allowed to withdraw from participation and terminate at any point of study.
  3. The participants were guaranteed that the data acquired from them would be reservedpersonal and would not be utilized for any other reason except for this research.
  1. The researcher maintained the anonymity of the participants.
  2. Results were reported accurately.

3.10 Statistical Analyses

            The SPSS version 21.00 was used to analyze data. Descriptive statistics was used for demographic variables. Correlation analysis was applied to find the relationship of personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. Further, regression analysis was employed for the prediction hypothesis and in addition T-test was also employed to find out differences among married couples on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality.

Chapter IV


            The current study was carried out to scrutinize the relationship among personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. This research imparts the factors that are much contributory towards the relationship-quality of married couples. The data analysis strategy involved performing (i) reliability analysis for all the scales and their subscales; (ii) descriptive analysis for demographic variables; (iii) Pearson Product Moment Correlation to access the correlation among study variables (iv) Hierarchical Regression Analysis to access the prediction (v) Independent Sample t-test to assess differences among demographics on study variables.

The descriptive and the Cronbach’s alpha reliability analysis was performed in order to compute the mean, standard deviation, maximum and minimum of the study variables. These descriptive are presented in the table 4.1.

Table 4.1

Descriptive Statistics and Cronbach’s alpha Reliability Analysis of Study Variables


Variable k M(SD) Actual Potential  α 
BFI total 44 162.56(15.92) 108-193 44-220 .81
            Extraversion 8 33.18(5.03) 19-40 8-40 .64
            Agreeableness 9 35.41(6.73) 19-45 9-45 .66
Conscientiousness 9 36.74(5.20) 22-45 9-45 .40
            Neuroticism 8 18.76(6.04) 10-40 8-40 .67
            Openness 10 38.47(7.08) 18-50 10-50 .75
RCSS total 15 47.76(3.88) 36-57 15-75 .72
            Validating 5 20.93(2.57) 10-25 5-25 .57
            Avoidant 3 7.41(2.92) 3-15 3-15 .64
            Volatile 4 14.24(3.21) 4-20 4-20 .54
            Hostile 3 5.17(2.29) 3-13 3-15 .70
RAS total 10 42.18(7.21) 27-50 10-50 .86

Note. M= mean, SD= standard deviation, Min. = Minimum, Max. = Maximum, α=Cronbach’s Alpha reliability. BFI= Big Five Inventory, RCSS= Romantic Conflict Style Scale, RAS= Relationship Assessment Scale.

Table 4.1 showed the reliability coefficients of Big Five Inventory, Conflict Resolution Styles Scale and Relationship Assessment Scale. The overall reliability values of assessment measures were significant enough to carry on further analysis in accordance with the present research hypotheses except for the reliability of the subscale of personality traits i.e. conscientiousness. One reason for the low reliability on this subscales could be the reverse coding of the items. Participants may have found it difficult to comprehend reverse code items.

The hypotheses of the study was to probe out the relationship of demographics with the study variables and to find out the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. For this, Pearson Product Moment correlation analysis was applied and is represented in table 4.2.

Table 4.2

Pearson Product Moment Correlation between Study Variables (N=200)

  Variables   2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
1. Age .07 .29** .07 .32** -.02 -.26** .08 -.18 -.15* .15* -.35** .15*
2. Income -.05 -.04 -.05 -.07 -.02 -.00 -.04 .19** -.04 -.09 -.16*
3. No of children -.13 -.05 -.17* -.03 -.13 -.05 .11 -.17* .09 -.13
4. Extraversion .40** .35** -.24** .34** .37** -.40** .41** -.35** .56**
5. Agreeableness .38** -.23** .28** .39** -.46** .44** -.51** .59**
6. Conscientiousness -.19** .34** .27** -.34** .31** -.38** .57**
7. Neuroticism -.45** -.54** .43** -.40** .55** -.51**
8. Openness .33** -.42** .39** -.50** .61**
9. Validating -.38** .45** -.51** .61**
10. Avoidant -.56** .47** -.65**
11. Volatile -.49** .66**
12. Hostile -.67**
13. RAS

Note: * p<.05, **p<.01.

Results of Pearson Product Moment Correlation revealed that age was significant and positively correlated with personality traits i.e. Agreeableness, and negatively correlated with neuroticism. Among conflict resolution styles age was positively correlated with volatile and negatively correlated with avoiding and hostile. Age was also positively correlated with relationship quality. Income had significant positive correlation with avoidant conflict style and significant negative correlation with relationship quality.

Among personality traits extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness, had significant correlation with relationship quality. High scores on these four dimensions show high quality of relationship. But neuroticism personality trait was negatively correlated with the relationship quality; high scores on neuroticism reflect low quality of relationships.

Among conflict resolutions styles volatile and validating conflict resolution style was significantly correlated to relationship quality. High scores on these two dimensions show high quality of relationships. But hostile and avoidant conflict resolution styles was negatively correlated with the relationship quality, high scores on these two dimensions depicts low quality of relationships.

Furthermore, it was hypothesized that there is likely to be a significant relationship between personality traits and conflict resolution styles. Results indicated that extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness personality traits were positively correlated with volatile and validating conflict resolution styles whereas negatively correlated with avoidant and hostile conflict resolution style. Neuroticism personality type was positively correlated with avoidantand hostile conflict resolution styles and negatively correlated with validating and volatile conflict style.

The third hypothesis of this study was to indicate the predictors of relationship quality. For this, hierarchical regression was performed for computation. The results are below in table

Table 4.3

Predictors Relationship Quality
∆R2 β
Step 1 .05*
            Age .08
            Income -.15***
            Duration of marriage .10
Step 2 .76***
            Extraversion .13***
            Agreeableness .14***
            Conscientiousness .18***
            Neuroticism -.03
            Openness .19***
            Validating .15***
            Avoidant -.11**
            Volatile .18***
            Hostile -.18***
R2 .81**
Note: ∆R2= R Square change

*p<.05, **p<.01, p<.001***

 Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analysis: Effect of Demographic Variables, Personality Traits, Conflict Resolutions (N=200)

4.1 Figural reporting of results

The Correlation Between Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality Among Married Couples

In 1st block 1for relationship assessment as dependent variable, demographic variables were entered. The model 1 was significant F (3,196) = 3.71, p .01 < .05. The demographic variable monthly income negatively predicted relationship quality. Block 1 explains 5% variance in relationship quality, which revealed that demographics i.e. incomecontributed 5% in predicting relationship quality. In 2nd block subscales of big five inventory and romantic conflict style scale were entered. Model 2 was significant, F (12,187) = 69.70, p .000< .001. Block 2 explains 79% variance in relationship quality, which means variables in model 2 contribute 76 % in predicting relationship quality.  In model 2 personality traits i.e. extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness were positive predictors of relationship quality and conflict resolution styles i.e. validating, volatile were the positive predictors of relationship quality whereas hostile and avoidant were the negative predictors of relationship quality.

The fourth hypothesis was to find out the differences among rural and urban married couples on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality and results are presented in table 4.4.

Table 4.4

Independent Sample t-test for Comparing Rural and Urban Married Couples on Personality traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality (N=200).

Variables Urban




95% CI
M SD   M SD t(198) P LL UL Cohen’s d
Extraversion 4.17 .61 3.92 .72 1.69 .09 -.04 .52 0.37
Agreeableness 3.99 .72 3.42 .78 3.36 .00 .23 .89 0.63
Conscientiousness 4.10 .57 3.84 .59 1.88 .04 .00 .52 0.44
Neuroticism 2.31 .73 2.55 .92 -1.37 .17 -.58 .10 0.28
Openness 3.90 .69 3.39 .71 3.15 .00 .18 .82 0.58
Validating 4.22 .49 3.90 .58 2.7 .00 .08 .54 0.36
Avoidant 2.41 .94 2.96 1.14 -2.49 .01 -.99 -.11 0.52
Volatile 3.6 .74 3.09 1.09 2.85 .00 .16 .87 0.54
Hostile 1.64 .68 2.41 1.03 -4.58 .00 -.1.10 -.43 0.88
RAS 42.47 6.88 37.33 8.29 3.33 .00 2.21 8.61 0.67

Note: LL= lower limit, UL= Upper Limit, CI= confidence Interval, RAS= Relationship Assessment Scale.

            Independent sample t test was used to compare and urban and rural married couples on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality in married couples.  Results revealed that there was statistically significant difference urban and rural married couples.  The findings indicated that urban married couples tend to have more agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness and utilize more conflict styles namely validating and volatile. Whereas rural couples utilize avoidant and hostile styles. And the quality of relationship is more of urban married couples than of rural married couples.

The hypothesis of the study was to find out the differences among nuclear and joint family system on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples.

Table 4.5

Independent Sample t-test for Comparing Nuclear and Joint Family System on Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality among Married Couples (N=200).

Variables Nuclear




95% CI
M SD   M SD t(198) P LL UL Cohen’s d
Extraversion 4.14 .59 4.15 .68 -.06 .94 -.18 .17 .01
Agreeableness 3.93 .73 3.90 .76 .03 .97 -.20 .21 .04
Conscientiousness 4.11 .61 4.04 .51 .84 .38 .09 .23 .12
Neuroticism 2.41 .77 2.25 .71 1.48 .13 -.05 .37 .21
Openness 3.86 .75 3.82 .64 .32 .74 -.16 .23 .05
Validating 4.16 .51 4.21 .51 -.57 .56 -.18 .10 .09
Avoidant 2.48 .94 2.45 1.02 .19 .84 -.24 .30 .03
Volatile 3.40 .82 3.77 .71 -3.2 .06 -.59 -.14 .48
Hostile 1.75 .77 1.67 .74 .74 .45 -.13 -.29 .10
RAS 42.36 7.25 41.9 7.20 .43 .66 -1.60 2.50 .06

Note: RAS= Relationship Assessment Scale, LL= Lower Limit, UL= Upper Limit, Cl = confidence interval.

The above table shows that there exist no significant differences of nuclear and joint family system on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality of married couples as the significance value for all variables is > .5.

The hypothesis of the study was to find out the differences among type of marriage on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. The t-test was performed and is reported in table 4.6.

Table 4.6

Independent Sample t-test for Comparing Love and Arranged Married Couples on Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality (N=200).

Variables Love marriage


Arranged marriage


95% CI
M SD   M SD t(198) P LL UL Cohen’s d
Extraversion 4.02 .66 4.17 .61 1.3 .17 -.36 .06 .22
Agreeableness 3.70 .80 3.99 .72 -2.2 .02 -.54 -.03 .38
Consciousness 3.88 .70 4.13 .53 -2.4 .01 -.44 -.04 .40
Neuroticism 2.41 .92 2.32 .70 .66 .51 -.17 .34 .11
Openness 3.74 .73 3.87 .70 -1.07 .28 -.37 .11 .18
Validating 4.09 .61 4.21 .48 -1.3 .18 -.29 .05 .22
Avoidant 2.85 .92 2.42 .98 1.3 .17 -.10 .57 .45
Volatile 3.34 .85 3.61 .78 -1.96 .05 -.55 .00 .33
Hostile 1.95 .92 1.66 .70 2.16 .03 .02 .54 .35
RAS 40.07 8.23 42.72 6.85 -2.11 .03 -5.12 -.17 .31

Note: RAS= Relationship Assessment Scale, CI= Confidence Interval, LL= Lower Limit, UL= Upper Limit

The above table portrays that there exist a significant difference in love and arranged married couples on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality of married couples.  The table revealed that married couples with arranged marriages are more agreeable and conscientious than couples with love married couples. Likewise, after analyzing the significance values and comparing the means it was concluded that couple’s with love marriages use hostile conflict resolution style more than arranged marriage couples. Moreover relationship quality of arranged married couples is comparatively more than love married couples.

The hypothesis of a study was to find out gender differences on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. For this T- test was employed.

Table 4.7

Independent sample t- test Comparing Male and Female on Personality Traits, Conflict Resolution Styles and Relationship Quality among Married Couples.(N=200).

Variables Husbands




95% CI
M SD   M SD t(198) P LL UL Cohen’s d
Extraversion 4.09 .67 4.19 .59 -1.09 .27 -.27 .07 .15
Agreeableness 3.39 .76 3.92 .73 .042 .96 -.20 .21 .71
Consciousness 4.07 .61 4.08 .54 -.136 .89 -.17 .15 .01
Neuroticism 2.31 .77 2.37 .73 -.53 .59 -.26 .15 .07
Openness 3.87 .72 3.81 .69 .60 .54 -.13 .25 .08
Validating 4.13 .51 4.23 .51 -1.40 .16 -.24 .06 .19
Avoidant 2.41 .94 2.53 1.00 -.89 .37 -.39 .14 .12
Volatile 3.62 .71 3.50 .82 1.05 .29 -.10 .34 .15
Hostile 1.73 .79 1.71 .74 .185 .85 -.19 .23 .02
RAS 41.87 7.70 42.49 6.72 -.60 .54 -2.63 1.39 .08

Note: RAS= Relationship Assessment Scale, CI= Confidence Interval, LL= Lower Limit, UL= Upper Limit

             After the interpretation of above table it is inferred that there exist no significant differences between male and females on personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality of married couples as significance value for all variables is > .05.

4.2 Summary of the Results

  • Age is positively correlated to personality traits i.e. extraversion, agreeableness and negatively correlated to neuroticism. Whereas conflict resolution style i.e. volatile is positively correlated to age and validating, avoidance and hostile are negatively correlated to age. Age has positive correlation with relationship quality.
  • Income is positively correlated to avoidance conflict resolution style and negatively correlated to relationship quality.
  • The results showed all five personality traits were significantly correlated with relationship quality. Scores on extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness depicts high quality of relationship, but neuroticism has negative correlation with the quality of relationship.
  • Among conflict resolution styles all four conflict resolution styles are significantly correlated with relationship quality. Among all four styles avoidance and hostile are the negative predictors of relationship quality.
  • The results showed that personality traits have significant correlation with conflict resolution styles. Personality traits that are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness have positive correlation with validating and volatile conflict resolution style. Whereas neuroticism has positive correlation with avoidant and hostile conflict resolution styles.
  • Age is a negative predictor of relationship quality.
  • Personality trait i.e. extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness and conflict resolution styles i.e. validating and volatile are the positive predictors of relationship quality whereas hostile is a negative predictor of relationship quality.
  • There exists a significant difference between rural and urban married couples and type of marriage of married couples whereas no significant difference exists between gender and family system on study variables.

Chapter V


            The purpose of this study was to inspect the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. The sample was gauged through non- probability convenient sampling. In the light of existing literature on the topic, it was hypothesized that there would be significant relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. Apart from this personality traits and conflict resolution styles are likely to predict relationship quality among married couples. In addition to that it was hypothesized that demographic characteristics are significantly related to study variables and are the predictors of relationship quality.

The results of the study revealed that there was a significant relationship among personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. Among personality traits extraversion, agreeableness, consciousness and openness had significant and positive correlation with relationship quality of married couples whereas neuroticism had significant and negative correlation with relationship quality. Moreover among conflict resolution styles validating and volatile styles had significant and positive correlation with relationship quality whereas avoidant and hostile styles had significant and negative correlation with relationship quality. Among demographics age had positive whereas income had negative relationship with relationship quality. Personality traits i.e. extraversion, agreeableness, openness and consciousness had positive impact of relationship quality. Additionally conflict resolution styles i.e. validating and volatile had positive impact on relationship quality whereas hostile and avoidant had negative impact on relationship quality. Apart from this income had negative impact on relationship quality. The results of additional analysis revealed that couples living in urban context had more quality relationship than couples living in rural context. In addition to that couples in the wedlock of arranged marriage had comparatively good relationship quality than couples in love marriages. There exist no gender differences on studied variables. In reference to the existing literature along with sample characteristics and after reviewing the whole research the results of the present study are discussed below.

It was hypothesized that there would be a significant relationship between personality traits conflict resolution styles and relationship quality. According to the given findings, there is a significant relationship between each of personality traits of married couples and their marital quality. More specifically, the relationship between extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and marital quality are positive, whereas the connection between neuroticism and marital quality is negative which means that as the neuroticism increases, marital satisfaction declines dramatically. If the literature on the personality traits is being explored the results are consistent with the findings of White, Hendrick and Hendrick (2004) who found through correlation and regression analyses that neuroticism was negatively associated with and negative predictive of satisfaction and intimacy and extraversion and agreeableness were positively associated with relationship satisfaction and intimacy. Conscientiousness was positively correlated with relationship satisfaction.  Neurotic personalities affect personal dedication to a relationship through intrapersonal pathways. Study after study has shown that if your spouse is not easy going, but rather is high in the personality trait known as Neuroticism, then you are more likely to be unhappily married. The personality traits of your spouse also matter when it comes to whether two will stay together. Researchers have estimated that 25% of the variance in divorce risk can be attributable to the personality traits of the spouses. More specifically, people high in neuroticism tend to divorce at relatively high rates (Jockin, McGue, &Lykken, 1996). Thus concluded that neuroticism causes marital dissatisfaction through harming the marital life. Meanwhile, the results showed that extroversion is one of the factor which have remarkable impact on the marital satisfaction. As mentioned above, extroversion includes characteristics such as excitability, assertiveness, sociability and emotional expressiveness. They have a tendency to draw attention to them, and are enthusiastic about opportunities for excitement, moreover, they are often energetic and talkative. Razavieh, Moeen, &Bohlouli (2010) found that the trait of agreeableness is contrary to the direction of people who are hostile to others and includes characteristics such as philanthropy, trust and humbleness. People with these personality traits have a high capacity of agreeableness and in case of the lack of cooperation and understanding on behalf of their spouse, are able to carry out many of their responsibilities in the life and try to look into the intentions and behaviors of the others and generally viewtheir whole life optimistically and without hostility.  Thus it could be reasonably deduced that positive aspects of personality has direct whereas negative aspects of personality have indirect relationship to the quality of marital life.

The results of the study revealed that couples conflict resolution styles are likely to have significant relationship with relationship quality. According to the findings of the research all four conflict resolutions styles are significantly connected to the quality of relationship.  The relationship between validating, volatile and relationship quality was positive, more scores on these conflict styles reflects increase in quality of relationship whereas the connection of hostile and avoidant were inverse with the quality of relationship. Research states that utilizing a negative conflict resolution style was negatively related to relationship quality (Cramer, 2009). The findings are in congruent with the findings of Abraham and Bruyne (2001) who found that collaborative conflict style was highly correlated with marital satisfaction. Having the perception of more cooperative type of conflict resolution is related to greater relationship satisfaction. These findings could be justified reasonably by reviewing the literature in hand that as laughter and validation disappear, criticism and pain well up. The attempts to get communication back on track seem useless, and partners become lost in hostile and negative thoughts and feelings that ultimately affect the relationships negatively (Forry.,Leslie &Letiecq, 2007). The findings could also be rationalized by the justification that hostile approach burns more fire and give rise to ill attitude between partners which ruins the environment for children and they adopt the same lifestyle of stretching conflicts. It affects marriage because the element of handling the bad attitude of children for resolving conflicts worsens the marital relationship further as both the partners start blaming each other for the ill nurturing of the children. The results are consistent with the findings of Knudson, Roger, Sommers and Alison (2001) that avoidant conflict resolution strategy of dealing with conflict doesn’t mean the conflict isn’t there anymore, chances are, it will become worse by not dealing with it, and have additional negative effects of relationships. Avoidant the conflict deepens its roots in unconscious and leads to worsen circumstances in near future of marital couple.  Moreover shying away from conflict by avoiding them seek comfort in the shorter term but can lead to deadly consequences for a marital relationship in longer run. On the other hand volatile and validating showed direct relationship with the quality of relationship as productive manners for resolving conflicts because they incline to moderate perceived face threat. Relaxing complaints by communicating diplomatically and by viewing words of optimistic regard protects face for partners and encourages them that their standing in the relationship remains concrete and complete, despite the expression of divergence or dissatisfaction(Gottman, 2000).
In addition to that the results of the present study revealed that neuroticism had significant negative correlation with validating and volatile conflict resolution styles and significant positive correlation with avoidance and hostile conflict resolution style. The results well suggests that neurotic personalities utilize less constructive styles for resolving conflicts and utilize more destructive and less effective conflict resolution styles to cater their conflicts. Previous literature support these findings , as it was inferred that   extroversion, openness, and conscientiousness have a negative relationship with avoiding and hostile conflict resolution style while  neuroticism have a positive relationship with hostile conflict resolution style (Antonioni, 2004).

It was hypothesized that demographics have significant correlations with study variables. The results revealed age had significant and positive correlation with relationship quality. The same combination had been found by Booth., Johnson & Edwards (2000) that younger couples were more dissatisfied in their marriage than older ones.  It has all to do with the ability of a person to think on more mature levels as the age grows on. It could be justified by cultural context because the maturity of individuals varies from culture to culture. Maturity is not restricted with age but as you grow old, the experiences of life should ideally make you evolve as a better person especially in a tightly bound relationship of marriage. It has been often observed in recent times in our culture that marriages which took place between the young and middle aged couples were more prone to conflicts raised from social, individual and familial issues (Hassan & Beenish, 2012).  This is due to the fact that when you are young, you follow the impulses more abruptly and that sometimes abducts the softness, politeness and reliability of a relationship and evokes vulnerability. On the other hand, marital couples with age on the higher side stay more focused on improving the quality of their relationship as they remain steadfast while facing minute complications and fight it out with the help of their prior experiences.

Income was found to be negatively correlated and a negative predictors of the quality of relationship. From the study conducted, a deduction has been proposed that high income can cause serious halts in the smooth going of a marital relationship. The curse of high income can actually sting the nurturing of a relationship after marriage as it often gives fire to evil senses of materialism and relationship dominance. It mostly diminishes the strength of communication between the partners as they are no more committed to giving each other the desired quality time due to excessive expenditure thoughts which are always on the minds of either both or at least one partner. The results could be well justified by cultural influences as in our culture according to the Holy Teachings of the Religion Islam, Money has been declared as one of the biggest Pugnacity (Fitnah) of the Mankind. The basic aspect that needs to be understood in this regard is about the delusionary world that excess of money can create around you and get you disinterested in the most beloved relationship of your life that is a marital relationship. Excess of money that comes in result of high income makes the partners habitual of spending more than what they used to do and indulges their attention in numerous new things that are either useless or misleading. The concept of adequacy remains no more significant and a perception evolves that prompts an individual to think that one can get something better than what one already possesses.

Additional analysis results portrayed that urban marriages are found to have better marital relationship quality when compared to the rural ones. The chief factor aiding the urban marriages is the availability of facilities and a suave lifestyle that is nowhere in rural life. Urban married couples have lots of healthy attractions to indulge themselves into, at times of stress in their relationship that improves the marital quality. As also revealed by the comparisons of rural and urban couples on openness personality traits and accordingly urban couples tend to be more open.  On the other hand the rural couples don’t have that luxury and the more or less one dimensional nature of their lifestyle mostly betrays them from adding the righteous pleasure in their relationships. Moreover the results revealed that the quality of marital relationships in case of the arranged marriages is far more superior to the love marriages. The results are consistent with the surveys conducted by Ayub and Haris (2003) in Pakistan that revealed the success ratio of arranged marriages, semi arranged marriages and love marriages. Findings revealed 89% of success in arranged marriage, 77% in semi arranged marriage and 69 % in love marriages. In Pakistani culture marriage is not only the relationship between husband and wife but it is also the union of their families and mostly elder parents think that marriage is not concerned with two persons but also with their families. Arrange marriages most work in Pakistani culture as it falls in the teachings of Islam. Moreover the major reason of better quality of relationship among arranged married couple than love marriage couples  is the family factor that knots the partners in a strong bond further strengthen by the intervening of the families from both sides in arrange marriages. This is usually missing in love marriages and lack of family support often leaves partners in no man’s land. There are occasions when family backing is needed and when the couples don’t find it, they begin to panic as revealed by greater scores of love married couples on hostile conflict style, leading to lesser marital quality.

The results revealed that there exist no gender differences on marital quality of couples. The results are in contradiction to the findings of Bulanda (2011) who found that women report lower marital happiness, marital interaction, and marital power than do men, on average.

5.1 Conclusions

            The results of the research were discussed in the light of research literature in hand and it can be summarized as, that the literature accepted the relationship between personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. Literature supported the prediction of relationship quality through personality traits, conflict resolution styles and its subscales. Literature was found to be stable in respect to age, income, type of marriage and urban and rural residential couples in personality traits, conflict resolution styles and relationship quality among married couples. There is a discrepancy; literature suggests gender differences on study variables while the current research points towards no significant gender differences on study variables.

5.2 Limitation and suggestions

  • It included the couples with marital experience of more than five years, which excluded the application of the results on newly married couples.
  • There was hesitance in completing questionnaires by the participants due to the personal information.
  • The study entirely focused on the specific operationalization definitions. Emotional and physiological responses were ignored. If a more behaviorally- based measures were utilized more evidence regarding the results could have emerged.

5.3 Implications

The research aimed at establishing the results that could be utilized in research work, marital counseling, and couple therapy, to ascribe the personality variables, individual variables such as conflict resolution techniques and relate it with how couple is doing overall. Knowledge of one personality type is necessary to form understanding with a partner who has a different personality type and also to understand the dimension of resolving conflict whenever it arises. The importance of these variables in relation to the functioning of a relationship is mandatory for a marriage counselor to understand and know its consequence for better underlining management of couple issues.

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