For many people, the relationship they have with their spouse or partner is likely to be one of the most significant and important interpersonal relationships they develop in their lifetime. A major focus of my research seeks to understand how the quality of one's marriage or other close intimate relationship influences and is influenced by partners' mental and physical health and well-being. Through epidemiological and laboratory-based research, we are examining how relationship quality is associated with the onset, course, severity, and treatment of depression. Although much of our research has focused on depression, we are conducting similar research on other mental health problems (e.g., anxiety and substance use disorders), indices of well-being, and biomarkers of physical health and health outcomes. We are examining how relationship quality and individual functioning influence one another in couples across the lifespan and in different countries. We also are seeking to identify individual and relationship factors that moderate the association between relationship quality and partners' mental and physical health and well-being.
A second line of research focuses on the role of cognition in depression. We are conducting research on rumination and its association with depression, as well as examining the dynamic associations among genetic, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal vulnerabilities for depression.
A third line of research seeks to identify individual and relationship characteristics and processes that are predictive of the quality of an individual's relationship with his or her spouse or partner.