Demand and Withdraw Communication Among Couples Experiencing Husband Violence

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Two studies compared marital communication behaviors of violent and nonviolent couples. In Study 1, violent distressed (VD) men reported more husband demand–wife withdraw than did nonviolent men. Distressed men reported less mutual constructive communication and more mutual blame and avoidance than did nondistressed men. Interactions of VD, violent nondistressed (VND), nonviolent distressed (NVD), and nonviolent nondistressed couples were coded in Study 2. VD spouses tended to engage in the most demand and withdraw and the least positive behavior; violent couples had the highest levels of contempt. On some codes, VND couples resembled NVD couples, suggesting that violence without distress may correlate differently with marital communication than violence in combination with distress and that severity of violence is important to consider.

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