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The Interpersonal Conflict and Resolution (iCOR) Study

A nationally representative dyadic study of behaviors in young adult relationships with strangers, friends and family, and intimate partners.
  • Client
    National Institute of Justice
  • Dates
    January 2012 – December 2020


Understanding behavior across different relationships is essential to understanding patterns of conflicts, coping and abuse.

Research on abuse and violence – which overall increases across adolescence and young adulthood before declining - has tended to be siloed in fields such as peer bullying and violence, street violence, or intimate partner violence. The NORC research team created a household cohort of young adults (ages 18-32) to ask them about their interactions with a range of counterparts, how they handled conflicts that might have arisen, and the extent to which victimization and offending have overlapped.


Informing efforts to resolve interpersonal conflicts without abuse and violence requires information about patterns across relationships, input from people we are close to, and awareness of proximal contextual triggers.

With funding from NIJ, Principal Investigators Elizabeth Mumford, Bruce Taylor, Weiwei Liu (at NORC) and Mark Berg (University of Iowa), designed iCOR to determine the nature, incidence, and coincidence of forms of interpersonal conflict and resulting conflict management styles. For those young adults reporting intimate relationships, additional perspective was drawn from information reported by both the “Prime” respondents and their intimate “Partners” on themselves, each other, and conflicts with other parties. 

The resulting dyadic models allow researchers to circumvent respondent favorability bias in survey responses, providing novel third-party reports of Prime respondents’ behavior in conflict situations. Moreover, building on this foundational information drawn from three waves of longitudinal survey data collection, iCOR participants, responding to daily prompts, shared contextual details and feelings defining conflicts without the haze of retrospective summation. 


iCOR is the first nationally representative study to examine dyadic and third party data on conflict patterns and conflict management styles, to investigate cross-situational consistency, and escalation patterns to understand the overlap between victimization and perpetration.

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