Current varieties of family relations ? Conflict, marital interaction styles, and social milieu
In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of studies brought to light a variety of family interaction styles characterizing contemporary French society. Which of them have lasted ? How are they related to the social structure ? What problems and conflicts do they tend to bring about ? This article aims to answer these questions on the basis of a large representative sample indicating couples’ social and generational characteristics. Five styles were empirically identified, associated with strongly unequal frequency levels for problems and open conflicts. Prevalent marital conflict coincides with a strong tendency for spouse or partner autonomy, gender-differentiated roles, and couple self-enclosure. These results are largely due to the differential effect of the conflict-management modes inherent in the various interaction styles, these being influenced by couples’ social characteristics and position. No increasing standardization of marital modes was observed ; indeed, advanced modernity seems characterized instead by several fairly distinct models highly dependent on position within the social structure.