There is ample evidence that marital dissatisfaction is associated concurrently with demand/withdraw, the marital pattern of communication in which one spouse nags or criticizes while the other avoids. However, the connection between demand/withdraw and changes in satisfaction is less clear. Some studies suggest that demand/withdraw is associated with low but steady marital satisfaction; other studies imply that demand/withdraw predicts declines in satisfaction; and still others indicate that demand/withdraw foreshadows increases in marital satisfaction. The current longitudinal study of married couples (N = 46) examined the connection between demand/withdraw and changes in satisfaction. The results suggest that the correlation between demand/withdraw and dissatisfaction endures to some extent, but also that demand/withdraw predicts increases in wives' satisfaction. Comparisons of the current study to previous studies of demand/withdraw imply that the association between demand/withdraw and marital satisfaction may be more complex than heretofore assumed, suggesting that future research ought to consider whether different ways of enacting demand/withdraw vary in their impact on marriage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language