Like most undergraduates who major in psychology, I eagerly anticipated one day being a psychotherapist; however, when I began to participate in a productive research lab, I became even more excited about the potential impact of science in our world. I began to see that a clinician can do much for an individual patient, but a scientist’s work can improve the lives of millions. Since then I have begun my own program of prevention research that aims to reduce the incidence of marital dysfunction and the physical and mental health problems that attends it.
Approximately 50% of couples that marry today will eventually divorce and as many as 25% of couples who remain married report having unhappy relationships. Divorce is associated with almost every physical and psychological disorder. Moreover, marital distress—the typical precursor to divorce—predicts a host of negative outcomes for the divorcing couple and their children. Because of the central role marital health plays across a vast array of outcomes, preventing marital distress and divorce has the potential to yield important, lasting benefits.
Research on interventions designed to prevent marital distress and divorce is promising, but the current delivery system for these interventions tends to reach couples that are at relatively low risk for relationship problems. A major focus of my research, therefore, involves an intervention I developed called ePREP. ePREP is a preventive intervention that has been adapted for computerized administration for the purpose of maximizing the likelihood of widespread dissemination. Novel methods of dissemination like ePREP can considerably extend the reach of our prevention efforts. By embracing new technologies and using them to supplement more traditional forms of delivery, the gap between the need for empirically supported treatments and our ability to provide them will continue to narrow.
Research InterestsMy primary research interests center on preventing marital distress and divorce as well as enhancing marital health. Much of my work focuses on novel methods of delivering premarital interventions so they can be disseminated broadly, especially to those who have historically been less likely to receive them. I also study basic processes that help us understand why some marriages thrive while others fail; for example, I am interested in partner selection and how the processes related to it influence marital health and stability. Finally, I’m interested in the association between close relationships and physical or mental health.
- PhD, Clinical Psychology , Florida State University (2010)
- MS, Clinical Psychology , Florida State University (2007)
- BS, Psychology , Brigham Young University (2003)
Honors and Awards
- FHSS Young Scholar, Department of Home and Social Sciences (2016 - Present)
- Martin B. Hickman FHSS Innovation in Teaching Award, College of Family Home and Social Sciences (2016 - 2017)