Enacting the demand/withdrawal pattern and physical well-being

Michael E. Roloff, Rachel M. Reznik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The frequency and focus of conflict varies during relational development, however, disagreements occur during every phase. One maladaptive communication pattern that has received considerable attention is the demand/withdrawal sequence - a pattern that generally involves one individual demanding that his or her partner change, and that partner then responding by withdrawing from the interaction. This chapter reviews research that examines how the demand/withdrawal sequence is related to measures of emotional provocation, physiological arousal, and physical health. We first explicate the features of the pattern and theories that have guided previous research. Then we examine research that investigated how the pattern is related to emotional, physiological, and health-related outcomes. We conclude with a discussion of future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Physiology of Interpersonal Communication
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780190679446
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Conflict structure approach
  • Cortisol
  • Demand/withdrawal pattern
  • Escape conditioning model
  • Polarization theory
  • Precarious couples
  • Serial arguing
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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