Demand-withdraw patterns in marital conflict in the home

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Abstract

The present study extended laboratory-based findings of demand-withdraw communication into marital conflict in the home and further explored its linkages with spousal depression. U.S. couples (N = 116) provided diary reports of marital conflict and rated depressive symptoms. Hierarchical linear modeling results indicated that husband demand-wife withdraw and wife demand-husband withdraw occurred in the home at equal frequency, and both were more likely to occur when discussing topics that concerned the marital relationship. For both patterns, conflict initiator was positively linked to the demander role. Accounting for marital satisfaction, both demand-withdraw patterns predicted negative emotions and tactics during marital interactions and lower levels of conflict resolution. Spousal depression was linked to increased likelihood of husband demand-wife withdraw.

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