Reducing Negative Social Boundaries: Utilizing Integrated Threat Theory


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The United States currently suffers from social division which has produced extreme polarity and a divisive social environment. There is a need to understand successful mechanisms that aid in the dissolution of negative conflict. Using Integrated Threat Theory as the theoretical framework for this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives from each political party with the goal of understanding successful conflict resolution mechanisms used in real-life scenarios. Analysis of their experiences with social and political conflict was performed using thematic analysis by clustering codes to create themes and subthemes. This study found mechanisms concerning ethical and emotional personality traits most successful when building bonds with others. In addition, this study identified four types of coping mechanisms used by participants in response to political conflict: Avoidance, Compromise, Engagement: Fact-based and Engagement: Through Relations. These findings will help contribute to further research within the conflict resolution field with the goal of resolving polarized political and social conflict.