Sex Differences in the Use of Demand and Withdraw Behavior in Marriage: Examining the Social Structure Hypothesis

David L. Vogel, Megan J. Murphy, Ronald J. Werner-Wilson, Carolyn E. Cutrona, Joann Seeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Studies consistently show sex differences in married couples' use of demand and withdraw behavior. The social structure hypothesis proposes that these differences are the result of power differentials between spouses. This study examined the link between 3 aspects of marital power and demanding and withdrawal behavior. Contrary to social structure predictions, results showed that wives did not possess less decision-making ability or access to resources and appeared to exhibit greater situational power (i.e., domineering and dominant behaviors) than did their husbands during problem-solving discussions. Furthermore, the spouse who exhibited the most demands also exhibited the most domineering and dominant behaviors, whereas the spouse who exhibited the most withdrawal exhibited the least domineering and dominant behaviors during problem-solving discussions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-177
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • demand
  • marital communication
  • marital power
  • problem solving
  • withdraw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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