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What has more impact on relationship conflict : childhood maltreatment, psychopathy or emotional intelligence? Sirkia, Teresa Diane


This study is the first to investigate the possible associations between four predictor variables: childhood maltreatment experiences, psychopathy, emotional intelligence (trait), emotional intelligence (ability), arid the outcome variable relationship conflict in a community-based sample. In addition to exploring the associations between the predictor variables and the outcome variable, this study explored the associations between the predictor variables and proposed a model predicting relationship conflict on the basis of the predictor variables. Participants were 197 non-random community-based males and females contacted through network sampling and online advertisements. Participants completed an online survey comprised of the following instruments, which measured the predictive variables: The Childhood Maltreatment Interview Schedule — Short Form (CMIS-SF; Briere, 1992) measured self-reported childhood maltreatment experiences, two of which formed the childhood maltreatment experiences variable (i.e., physical abuse and sexual abuse); the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale III (SRP-III; Williams, Nathanson, & Paulhus, 2003) measured self-reported psychopathy; the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i; Bar-On, 1997) measured self-reported ability-based emotional intelligence; and twenty-eight streaming video clips, four for each of the seven universal emotional facial expressions (i.e., happy, sad, fear, surprise, anger, disgust, contempt) from the Micro Expression Training Tool (METT; Ekman, 2003-2006) used to measure ability based emotional intelligence. The total score of four subscales (e.g., psychological aggression, physical assault, sexual coercion, physical injury) from the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2; Straus, Boney-McCoy, & Sugarman, 1996) comprised the outcome variable relationship conflict. Poisson regressions were completed and results indicated that psychopathy is the variable most predictive of relationship conflict in this sample. This is followed by childhood maltreatment experiences. Trait-based emotional intelligence gained significance as a predictor of relationship conflict but with a marginal effect size. Ability-based emotional intelligence and gender were not predictive in the model that took into account all the predictor variables. These findings and others are discussed in terms of their relevance in predicting relationship conflict in a community-based sample.

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