Jennifer Samp

Ph.D., University of Georgia


Behavioral and Emotional Responses to Conflict in Parent-Child Triads


Abstract: Conflict is an ubiquitos experience in close relationships, yet the ways in which individuals choose to manage conflict interactions may widely differ. Using data from 100 co-parent and adolescent triads, emotional, verbal, and nonverbal responses are examined in two discussion contexts: (a) a conflict between co-parents, and (b) a conflict relating to the child. Coded verbal and nonverbal responses, along with reports of emotions and perceived family functioning are examined to better understand how the ways in which co-parents communicatively manage conflict discussions with one another may spillover into the conflict behaviors used to manage conflict with the adolescent child, and vice versa. Implications for conflict outcomes and relational functioning will be explored.


Short Biography: Jennifer A. Samp (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor, Associate Head, and Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on how people translate and strategically communicate during periods of conflict, power differentials, stress, and difficulties in their close relationships with a focus on interaction content, both verbally and nonverbally. Her work on romantic relationships has examined how relational judgments impact decisions to withhold or engage discussions about problems, as well as the choices people utilize to manage concern about a partner's potentially relationally or personally damaging response. In family contexts, Dr. Samp examines how a history of violence influences parental maltreatment, as well as how parent-child interactions about conflictual issues encourage self-silencing or aggressive communication. Dr. Samp is currently working on two NIH funded 5-year grant projects. One project is an interdisciplinary project with colleagues from the University of Rochester in the departments of psychology and engineering to develop new tools to assess physiological and behavioral emotional reacitivity during familiy conflict interactions. The second project, with Dr. Jennifer Monahan and colleagues at Emory University, examines how women communicate in risky sexual situations when under the influence of alcohol. Dr. Samp is a Fellow with the UGA Owens Institute for Behavioral Research and a Faculty Affiliate with the Emory University Center for Injury Control and the UGA Center for Health and Risk Communication. She is also a Past Chair of the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association.