I have been a member of the University of Wisconsin–Madison faculty since 2006. I teach in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies and lead a research team in the UW Couples Lab. At UW–Madison, I serve as Associate Dean of Research in the School of Human Ecology and as a member of the University Committee. I currently serve as a member on the NIH Psychosocial Development, Risk, and Prevention study section (PDRP) and on the editorial boards of Journal of Family Psychology and Family Process.
My broad program of research has focused on the role of intimate and family relationships in shaping development across the lifespan. My studies here have capitalized on methods for assessing romantic partners’ and family members’ experiences in daily life. As an example, my colleagues and I have conducted a series of studies on the occurrence of marital conflict in families’ homes and its implications for child, parent, and family functioning. We have also documented interdependence or close connection between romantic couples as well as family members along multiple domains, recently finding congruency in spouses’ negative affect during conflict (more so for anger and hostility than for sadness and fear), and demonstrating reliable covariation in family members’ cortisol levels across the day.
I am fortunate to study other aspects of human development that are closely tied to my work on relationships and highly compelling to me, primarily for their relevance to health and well-being and potential to inform pressing societal issues. These lines of investigation have addressed breastfeeding and psychosocial outcomes, mental health symptoms, and prescription drug misuse. In addition, I collaborate with Dr. Sigan Hartley to improve understanding of marital and family outcomes in autism spectrum disorders.
For more information on my research, please visit my lab’s website.