Reversal Theory and Emotional Processes in the Low-Conflict and High-Conflict Mother-Daughter Dyadic Interactions


University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences


As a part of a series of studies conducted for a PhD thesis at the university of Tasmania, this experiment investigated the emotional processes in the low-conflict and high-conflict mother-adolescent daughter dyads using reversal theory constructs (Apter, 1982) including metamotivational states, and reversal processes. Among 63 mother-daughter dyads participating in a previous experiment (Ghafar-Tabrizi, 2003), a high-conflict group (12 dyads) and a low-conflict group (12 dyads), were established on the basis of the Conflict subscale of Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1994). The study examined emotional changes during neutral, conflictual,and pleasant conversational interactions. The high-conflict group experienced greater levels of unpleasant emotions and positive transactional emotions than the low-conflict group. On the whole, the results demonstrated the utility of reversal theory constructs in explaining the interplay between the operative metamotivational state, reversal processes, and contextual features in emotional processes in the low-conflict and high-conflict mother daughter dyads. However the verbal, non-verbal, and cognitive factors that instigate reversals remain to be investigated