Depression, Relationship Quality, and Couples’ Demand/Withdraw and Demand/Submit Sequential Interactions
American Psychological Association
Journal of Counseling Psychology
This study investigated the associations among depression, relationship quality, and demand/withdraw and demand/submit behavior in couples’ conflict interactions. Two 10-min conflict interactions were coded for each couple (N = 97) using Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB; Benjamin, 1979a, 1987, 2000a). Depression was assessed categorically (via the presence of depressive disorders) and dimensionally (via symptom reports). Results revealed that relationship quality was negatively associated with demanding behavior, as well as receiving submissive or withdrawing behavior from one’s partner. Relationship quality was positively associated with withdrawal. Demanding behavior was positively associated with women’s depression symptoms but negatively associated with men’s depression symptoms. Sequential analysis revealed couples’ behavior was highly stable across time. Initiation of demand/withdraw and demand/submit sequences were negatively associated with partners’ relationship adjustment. Female demand/male withdraw was positively associated with men’s depression diagnosis. Results underscore the importance of sequential analysis when investigating associations among depression, relationship quality, and couples’ interpersonal behavior.