Response Thresholds and Demand/Withdraw Communication in Domestic Labor Conflict

Kendra Knight, Janet Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Guided by Alberts, Tracy, and Trethewey’s (2011) integrated theory of the division of domestic labor (ITDDL), this study examines the influence of domestic labor response threshold on demand/withdraw communication in domestic labor conflict. Response threshold represents the point at which a negative stimulus produced by an unperformed task is of sufficient intensity to compel an individual to attend to it. One hundred and fifty-five heterosexual marital dyads (mean length of marriage = 19.98 years) completed an online questionnaire about their household labor conflict and response thresholds. Response thresholds were assessed using a photograph-based measure, and data were analyzed via an actor-partner interdependence model. Consistent with theoretical predictions, a significant actor-threshold-by-partner-threshold-by-sex interaction predicted reported demand/withdraw in domestic labor conflict. Individuals with low or mean response thresholds reported more self-demand/partner-withdraw the higher their partner’s response threshold, and this effect was more pronounced among women than men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-123
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication


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