Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Emotional Precipitants of Withdrawing Behavior in Couple Interactions
by Cencirulo, Jason, Psy.D., Pepperdine University, 2018, 90; 10932667
Abstract (Summary)

The demand-withdraw pattern of communication—a cyclical pattern of interaction in which criticism and emotional or physical exit predominate—is common amongst couples in distress and is linked to a number of deleterious health and relational outcomes. Inherent in the pattern are individual and dyadic difficulties regulating emotion that contribute to the process of polarization between demanding and withdrawing parties. While numerous therapeutic modalities target the pattern and attempt to facilitate its reduction through a focus on emotions underlying the pattern, few—if any—studies have examined the exact nature and quality of emotions that precipitate withdraw through qualitative means. This study utilized 12 participants (6 couples) culled from Christensen and colleagues’ (Christensen et al., 2004) five-year randomized clinical trial comparing Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT) with Traditional Behavioral Couple Therapy (TBCT), in order to examine the emotional precipitants of withdraw. Results indicate that frustration is the most common emotion displayed by withdrawing partners of both genders prior to withdraw, followed by hurt, defensiveness, and scorn. Hurt was displayed more often when withdrawing partners voiced their relational concerns to their partners. The frequency and intensity of all emotions displayed increased when those who withdraw listened to relational concerns voiced by their partners. Implications for future research are discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eldridge, Kathleen
Commitee: Aviera, Aaron, Castañeda-Sound, Carrie
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Couples, Demand-withdraw, Emotion regulation, Emotional arousal, Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT), Traditional Behavioral Couple Therapy (TBCT)
Publication Number: 10932667
ISBN: 978-0-438-33277-5
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