Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Research on adult children of alcoholics has indicated that such children have difficulty with behavioral and communicative characteristics. Specifically they have difficulty with such behaviors as lying, intimacy, responsibility, and trust. Research also has indicated that adult children of alcoholics rely on coping mechanisms to escape from their chaotic environments and such mechanisms are manifested in behaviors of co-dependency and family roles. Although the literature on adult children of alcoholics suggests that these individuals may have trouble with problem solving in conflict, no apparent literature discusses the strategies of conflict resolution for such individuals.

This study predicted that adult children of alcoholics would choose conflict resolution styles of avoidance and/or accommodation more often than would adult children of nonalcoholics, The Thomas Kilmann MODE Instrument was given to a sample of Spring 1990 Fundamentals of Public Speaking students at the University of North Dakota. Results indicated that differences in responses to conflict resolution styles between adult children of alcoholics and adult children of nonalcoholics were not significant at the .05 level.

Implications of this study of conflict resolution suggest a need to incorporate a new methodology or improve the existing instrument for a higher level of reliability. Recommendations for further research include relying on a formalized adult children of alcoholics "group" for testing. Also incorporating rhetorical critical analyses of metaphorical analysis, content analysis, or fantasy theme analysis to better assess conflict resolution styles may be useful.