Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2022



Copyright © 2022 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.

"This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal."


Understanding individuals’ preferences for how to resolve conflict—specifically legal disputes—has long interested researchers, particularly those considering procedural justice. This study considers the impact of relational factors that influence individuals’ preferences for dispute resolution processes for civil legal issues. Specifically, it examines the impact of self-construal and the relationship between the parties in conflict on preferences for specific features of dispute resolution processes and considers the role of underlying resolution goals as potential mediators in a parallel mediation model. Using a novel paradigm in which the outcome variables of interest focused on specific dispute resolution process features allowed the researchers to disentangle preferences for specific features that commonly co-occur in dispute resolution processes, such as litigation or mediation. Participants read a vignette describing a conflict between a landlord and tenant over damages that had occurred in an apartment rented by the participant. Then, participants rated their underlying goals for the dispute resolution process (e.g., desire to restore the relationship between those involved) and preferences for key dispute resolution features (e.g., the ability to reach a compromise solution). The results indicate there is within-country variability in preferences for collaborative dispute resolution process features. Individuals who are higher in interdependent self-construal prefer more collaborative dispute resolution process features because of the underlying goal of restoring the relationship with the other party involved in the conflict. These findings have implications for dispute system design, attorney-client counseling, and mediation practice.