Active Research Programs

Family Psychology has a rich and active research environment. Active research projects study the most pressing areas in Family Psychology.  Our goals are to understand the etiology, developmental course, and consequences of couple and family dysfunction, and to develop effective interventions. 

Below is a list of just some of the diverse group of family psychologists with active research programs:

  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe, EdD, MPH
    Program: Counseling Psychology PhD, A scientist-practitioner model with an emphasis on transnational and social justice practice. The department offers an MSc in Family Therapy of which I am the program director.
    Research: My research team in Boston and in Bilbao, Spain, focuses on family health, e-Health, the impact of emerging technology on families, and immigration and transnational family processes.
    Contact: Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development,  University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 Morrissey Bvld., Boston, MA 02125-3393; email
  • Annmarie Cano, PhD
    Program: Clinical Psychology PhD program in the scientist-practitioner tradition
    Research: I study how the quality of couple and family communication about chronic illness (specifically, chronic pain) relates to pain adjustment and relationship well-being. I am particularly interested in emotional disclosure of illness-related distress and empathic responses to those disclosures. I am also conducting research on animal-assisted interventions for troubled adolescents.
    Contact: Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, 5057 Woodward-7th Floor, Detroit, MI 48202, (313) 577-1492; email
  • Cindy Carlson, PhD, Professor and Chair
    Program: School psychology PhD program, Dept. of Educational Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin
    Research: My scholarship has broadly focused on family assessment, family functioning, and the home-school relationship. My research has focused largely on (a) the effects of family and peers on the academic and social functioning of early adolescents and (b) the efficacy of family treatment for child and adolescent problems.
    Contact: 1 University Station D5800, Austin TX 78712-0383, (512) 471-0276; email
  • Barbara H. Fiese, PhD
    Program: Human Development and Family Studies PhD, ITOPP- Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program – MPH/PhD Program
    Research: Our research focuses on family factors that promote health and well-being in young children. Our work is conducted as part of the initiatives at the Family Resiliency Center with specific focus on childhood obesity prevention and the reduction of childhood hunger.
    Contact: Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MC-081, Urbana, IL 61801; email
  • Myrna L. Friedlander, PhD
    Program: Counseling psychology PhD program, Dept. of Educational and Counseling Psychology, Division of Counseling Psychology, University at Albany/SUNY
    Contact: Education 220, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222; email
  • Mary A. Fristad, PhD, ABPP, Professor
    Program: Child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship program & adult psychiatry residency program, Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology and Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University
    Research: I conduct clinical trials of psychosocial and nutritional interventions for children with mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder). I also am part of the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study, a multi-site study following 707 children at risk for developing bipolar disorder. We are in the second 5-year follow-up phase.
    Contact: 1670 Upham Drive Suite 460G, Columbus, OH 43210-1250; 614-293-4572; website
  • Kristina Coop Gordon, PhD, Professor
    Program: Clinical psychology PhD program, Dept. of Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
    Research: My research focuses on the dark side of relationships (infidelity, aggression, betrayals) and, conversely, on relationship health (implementing a Relationship Check-up program to improve relationship health through primary care clinics, conducting couples-based programs to improve physical health).
    Contact: 310B Austin Peay Bldg., Knoxville, TN 379960900; email
  • Erika Lawrence, PhD, Associate Professor
    Program: Clinical psychology PhD program and social psychology PhD program, Dept. of Psychology, The University of Iowa
    Research: My research focuses on the predictors, correlates, and consequences of relationship dysfunction, with special emphasis on intimate partner violence. I conduct basic longitudinal research and applied research with individuals, couples and families.
    Contact: 11 Seashore Hall East, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407, 319-335-2417; email
  • Valerie Stephens Leake, PhD, Assistant Professor
    Program: Counseling psychology PsyD program with an emphasis on rural health, Dept. of Psychology, Radford University
    Research: I am researching family belonging, specifically validating a new measure of family belonging, the Family Belonging Scale- Revised
    Contact: Box 6946, Radford, VA 24142; email
  • Richard E. Mattson, PhD, Assistant Professor
    Program: Clinical psychology PhD program, Dept. of Psychology, Auburn University
    Research: My research is on the antecedents to and developmental course of marital discord, as well as on the measurement of variables relevant to relationship research. Secondary research interests include addictive behaviors, as well as their detrimental effects on relationship functioning (e.g., psychological abuse).
    Contact: 226 Thach Hall, Department of Psychology, Auburn University, AL 36849; email
  • Shelley A. Riggs, PhD
    Program: The Counseling Psychology doctoral program in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Texas offers an emphasis in Child and Family Psychology, in addition to generalist training in counseling psychology.
    Research: As the Director of the Family Attachment Lab in the UNT Department of Psychology, I work with a team of graduate and undergraduate students to conduct research on psychological risk and resilience in relation to child/adult attachment and family processes across the lifespan, as well as relational trauma and loss.
    Contact: 1155 Union Circle #311280, Department of Psychology, The University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203-5017, (940) 565-2672; email
  • Galena Rhoades, PhD
    Program: University of Denver Child Clinical Psychology PhD program with an emphasis on training clinical scientists and scientist-practitioners.
    Research: My research is part of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and my projects involve studies on the ways that people form, develop, and maintain romantic relationships as well as studies on the effectiveness of relationship education.
    Contact: Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, (303) 871-4280; email
  • Thomas L. Sexton, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Director
    Program: Center for Adolescent and Family Studies & Counseling Psychology Program, Indiana University
    Research: My research investigates the mechanisms of change in family therapy based interventions for adolescents with behavior problems.  In particular, I study Functional Family Therapy (Sexton, 2010) and its application in community based practice settings.  In addition, I write about evidence-based treatments and family psychology research.
    Contact: 901 East 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405, (812) 856-1485 (phone), (812) 856-2084 (fax); email
  • Louise Silverstein, PhD
    Program: School-child clinical psychology PsyD program, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University
    Research: I conduct qualitative research to illustrate the effectiveness of therapy informed by Bowen Family Systems Theory. I also research the ethical and social implications of genetic testing in the case of unexpected deaths.
    Contact: Bronx, NY 10461; email
  • Elizabeth A Skowron, PhD
    Please see website for information
  • Gregory L. Stuart, PhD, Professor
    Program: Clinical psychology PhD program, Dept. of Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
    Research: My research focuses on family violence across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on the interface between substance abuse and intimate partner violence.
    Contact: 310C Austin Peay Bldg., Knoxville, TN 37996-0900; email
  • Melissa Sturge-Apple, PhD
    Program: Developmental Psychology, PhD program, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester
    Research: My research is part of the Rochester Center for Research on Families and Children and focuses on examining process models of interparental discord, coparenting, parent-child relationships, and children's social and emotional adjustment. My work is guided by conceptualizations derived from emotional security theory, developmental psychopathology and evolutionary-neurodevelopmental theories.
    Contact: CSP, 355 Meliora Hall, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 14627; (585) 275-8711; email