Research Areas

Research in my laboratory spans multiple topics and areas of research, intersecting personality psychology, social psychology, and health psychology. Broadly speaking, I am interested in well-being and have focused on areas of research that have been identified as important for facilitating well-being. As a result, my primary areas of research focus on goal pursuit, romantic relationships, and individual differences, such as character strengths (e.g., resilience, grit, mindfulness).

GOAL PURSUIT

One important predictor of high levels of well-being is goal pursuit. People who are able to make more progress toward their goals have higher levels of subjective well-being, indicated by higher positive affect, lower negative affect, and higher life satisfaction. My research focuses on predictors of goal progress, with a special focus on how relationship partners influence goal pursuit processes. For example, my lab has investigated factors such as partner social influence, partner instrumentality, conflict between partners' goals, social support, and their influence on goal pursuit processes (e.g., goal progress, goal importance) and on well-being indicators (relationship and personal well-being). Some of my work focuses specifically on the pursuit of health goals, such as exercise. In more recent work, I have also been interested in individual predictors of goal pursuit, such as self-control, mindfulness, grit, motivations, different mindsets, and factors contributing to resilience. To study goal processes, my research approach most often relies on daliy diary studies, experience sampling, and/or longitudinal methods.

ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

The quality of people's romantic relationships is a strong predictor of both physical and personal well-being. However, relationsips are challenging to navigate and difficulties often emerge. My research has examined various factors that influence the quality of romantic relationships. For example, people often expect their relationship partner to understand them and assume that their partner knows them well. However, ample research demonstrates that people's perceptions of others are not always accurate and are often infleunced by biases (e.g., projection of one's own states onto the partner). My research has examined accuracy and bias in perceptions of romantic partners, and the cues that people use to make their judgments about their partner's states. I have also examined other predictors of relationship quality, such as reward and threat perceptions in the relationship, and more recently have started to focus on the influence of factors such as mindfulness, mindsets, motivations, and resilience on relationship processes.

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES & WELL-BEING

In some new research, I have started to examine the role of various individual differences in well-being and their influence on relationship processes. In particular, motivations and experiences that are associated with self-growth can facilitate well-being, but it is unclear how they might relate to daily experiences and influence relationship processes. Thus, some of my current work focuses on self-expansion (i.e., self-growth) in the context of relationships. Mindfulness has also been shown to be associated with well-being, but its impact on relationship processes has not been extensively examined. Furthermore, various character strengths facilitate well-being (e.g., motivations, midesets, resilience, grit) but less is know regarding their impact on relationship processes and/or how they facilitate well-being in everyday life.

Prospective Graduate Students

I will consider applications from students whose primary interests fall into any of the above listed areas of research.  If you are interested in working with me, I am always on the lookout for strong students who are primarily intersted in pursuing an academic/research career after graduate school. I will be looking at applications from prospective graduate students for the Fall of 2019.

You can read more about our graduate program here at Kent State here, and find information on how to apply to our graduate program here. If you are interested in potentially working with me, please make sure that you mention that in your personal statement.