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My research and theoretical interests lie in the area of close relationships,
and my current research program focuses on understanding social support and
caregiving processes in adulthood and across the lifespan. A large body of evidence
indicates that social support / caregiving helps people to cope more effectively with
stressful life events, and it has been shown to play an important role in determining
health and personal adjustment. However, despite the fact that individuals often turn
to the significant people in their lives for comfort and support when they are faced
with stressful situations, and despite the fact that social support is an
interpersonalprocess, we currently know very little about the types of social
interactions that occur among individuals in close relationships when coping with
stress ö or about the degree to which the support interactions that occur within the
context of adult relationships shape the quality and functioning of those relationships
over time.

My research program involves the investigation of both interpersonal behaviors
(i.e., support-seeking and caregiving behaviors) and interpersonal perception
(i.e., subjective perceptions of support-seeking and caregiving behaviors).
The overarching goals of my research program are to examine (a) support-seeking
and caregiving dynamics in intimate relationships, (b) subjective perceptions of
interaction behaviors in intimate relationships, such as the degree to which support
perceptions are rooted in ãobjectiveä reality, (c) gender differences in the interpersonal
social support process, (d) the interconnections of caregiving across a variety of
relationships across the lifespan, and (e) the processes through which
support-seeking and  caregiving dynamics in intimate relationships influence
personal health and well-being, as well as relationship functioning. My research
uses attachment theory (as well as other theoretical approaches) as a framework
for understanding the interactive support-seeking and caregiving process. To explore
the complexities of the social support process, I use a variety of research
methodologies including observational (video) studies of dyadic interaction and
experimental studies manipulating social support (and other factors influencing the
social support process). Additional research methods used in this research include
survey, diary, longitudinal, and psychophysiological methods. Some of the major
goals of research projects completed and in progress are highlighted below.


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