Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

Degree Level





Patricia Amason

Committee Member

Mengfei Guan

Second Committee Member

Robert M. Brady


Conflict Management, Gender Identity, Imagined Interactions, Relational Maintenance


Currently, there are no bodies of research that examine the relationship between imagined interactions, relational maintenance, conflict management, and gender identity. Previous research has primarily relied on quantitatively measuring the functionality of imagined interactions and generating an understanding as to why individuals use them. However, this study qualitatively examined the connection between these concepts, specifically how gender identity affects how individuals use imagined interactions to manage conflict with their partner and maintain their relationship. Fifteen participants who are currently in long-term relationships were interviewed and then required to complete the Thomas-Kilmann (1974) conflict management mode survey. Afterward, the responses were coded, thematically analyzed, and scored per the ThomasKilmann (1974) scoring instrument and compared to one another. The results indicated individuals use imagined interactions to prepare for conflicts with their partners by allowing them to rehearse what they want to say, manage their emotions, and craft a communication plan that helps resolve the issue and satisfies both parties. Additionally, it was found that gender identity has an impact on the way an individual implements imagined interactions to effectively manage conflict with their partners. This research is an introduction to the thematical and qualitative analysis of imagined interactions and how they are used to manage conflict and maintain relationships. As more researchers focus on how helpful imagined interactions can be for relational longevity, additional techniques that encourage healthier and more productive communication practices can then be recognized and employed.