Kenneth Kressel

Kenneth Kressel


kkressel [at]



Office Location

Rutgers University, Psychology Department

101 Warren Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Smith Hall Room 359

Research Initiatives

My research deals with the nature and management of social conflict, with a particular focus on the use of mediation as a method for resolving highly polarized conflicts. The research program has grown out of my training as both a social and clinical psychologist and has been aimed at addressing two primary questions:
(1) What are the contextual and interactive forces that produce particularly destructive conflict?
(2) What strategies and tactics of conflict management are most effective in dealing with such forces?
To answer these questions I have studied conflict in industrial and international disputes, but my primary research arena has been in family and divorce conflict where mediation is often used as an effective alternative to the adversarial legal system. More recently I have begun to study the implicit cognitive schema which appear to underlie the work of particularly effective mediators and the qualitative research methods which are useful in identifying these schema. In my role as Director of the Teaching Excellence Center on the Rutgers-Newark campus I have also begun to study conflict in higher education, particularly in academic departments.


Kressel, K. (1985). The Process of Divorce: How Professionals and Couples Negotiate Settlement. New York: Basic Books.

Kressel, K. and Pruitt, D.G. (eds.). (1989). Mediation Research: The Process and Effectiveness of Third-Party Intervention. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

Kressel, K. (1994). Fran Butler: Questions that need answers in child custody mediation. In D. KoIb (Ed.), When Talk Works: Profiles of Mediators. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.

Kressel, K., Frontera, E., Forlenza, S., Butler, F., and Fish, L. (1994). The Settlement Orientation vs. The Problem-Solving Style in Custody Mediation. The Journal of Social Issues 50 67-84.

Kressel, K. (1997). Practice-relevant research in mediation: Toward a Reflective Research Paradigm. Negotiation Journal, 13 143-160.