My research is focused on understanding how romantic partners' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during conflict are related to their individual well-being and to the health of their relationships. One of the most important assumptions in my work is that couple conflict is a normative, inevitable, and even necessary phenomenon. Although conflict is often assumed to be problematic, conflict can facilitate adaptation and positive growth and is one of the primary mechanisms by which change and reorganization take place. On the other hand, conflict can also be a major source of distress for romantic partners and dysfunctional conflict processes are linked to a wide range of negative outcomes.
At present, my research is focused on understanding a theoretical model of severe relationship distress called the polarization model. This model attempts to explain how some romantic partners become increasingly distant from one another over time in the ways they act, think, and feel and what factors increase risk for the occurrence of this phenomenon.
Opportunities for Students
Our research group is currently conducting a number of interdisciplinary projects on many different aspects of couple interaction. These projects include studies of couple therapies and relationship education programs in the United States, Germany, and Australia, a study of couple based therapy for married couples where one spouse has been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, a study of the links between family violence and couple interaction, and a study of couple interaction during daily life.
Another major focus of our research group is the development of computational tools and statistical models for studying couple interaction. Most current projects involve collaboration with colleagues from a number of disciplines such as electrical engineering and biostatistics. As a result, our research group is active in a number of areas outside of clinical psychology including speech signal processing, affective computing, computational linguistics, and statistical modeling for multiply nested designs. These aspects of the lab make it an excellent fit for students with backgrounds both within and outside of clinical psychology, students with interests in couple interaction, couple therapy, and behavior & emotion, and creative thinkers who are excited about interdisciplinary collaboration.
I will be accepting applications from potential graduates this year. Our lab is also accepting applications for a limited number of volunteer RA positions that would begin immediately. If interested, please contact Abby Boggins to apply and for further information about opportunities in our lab.