Recent publications

Cooper, A. N., Tao, C., Totenhagen, C. J., Randall, A. K., & Holley, S. (2020). Emotion regulation and daily stress in same-sex couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37, 1245-1267.  

Using daily diary data from 81 same-sex couples, we examined the link between stress experienced outside the relationship (external) and within the relationship (internal) for individuals (stress spillover) and their partners (stress crossover). Extending prior literature, we examined spillover and crossover of both common external (e.g., work stress) and sexual minority stress (e.g., discrimination based on sexual orientation) and the extent to which individuals’ own and their partner’s difficulties in emotion regulation moderated these associations. We found compelling evidence for spillover of common external stress and crossover of both types of stress. Further, we found both concurrent (same day) and lagged (next-day) stress spillover and crossover processes for both types of external stressors, moderated by both partners’ reported difficulties in emotion regulation. Findings related to stress spillover and crossover as well as implications for researchers and clinicians working with same-sex couples are discussed.

Waldron, V & Farnworth, M. J. (2020).  Steeling against midlife adversity: Resilience-promoting practices of long-term romantic pairs. Journal of Family Communication, 20, 129-145. 

Midlife is a time of both turbulence and stability for long-term romantic couples, a period that may bring adversity in the form of changed roles, distressed adult offspring, health conditions, and caregiving for parents. We draw on Afifi’s theory of resilience and relational load (TRRL) to interpret interview data collected from 265 couples. Participants illustrated TRRL by describing familiar resource management practices, such sharing quality time. They extend the theory by reporting unanticipated practices, such as truth-telling and having fun. TRRL was challenged to account for the roles played by culture, faith, and resource intensive identities. Some practices, such as broadening the base, were consistent with both TRRL and other theories. Findings respond to calls by resilience researchers for improved understanding of interactive practices that help people steel against the inevitable challenges of aging.


Wright, K.A. (2020). Time well spent: Misery, meaning, and the opportunity of incarceration. The Howard Journal, 59 (1), 44-64. 10.1111/hojo.12352

People often leave prison worse than when they arrived; sometimes, they leave the same. People could leave prison better than when they arrived through a reimagined response to crime. They could be set up to live sustainable, fulfilling, and meaningful lives after prison. This approach could be informed by research on what makes for a meaningful life – regardless of whether a person has come into contact with the criminal justice system. A reimagined corrections could view time spent in prison as an opportunity rather than solely as a punishment; an opportunity to repair harm, empower people, and promote public safety.



Ha, T., van Roekel, E., Iida, M., Komienko, O., Engels, R. C. M. E., & Kuntzche, E. (2019). Depressive symptoms amplify emotional reactivity to daily perceptions of peer rejection in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 10.1007/s10964-019-01146-4.

During adolescence, interpersonal stressors such as peer rejection pose challenges to emotion regulation. Yet, very little is known about how these transactional processes unfold in adolescents’ daily lives. This study investigated adolescents’ (a) emotional reactivity to daily perceptions of peer rejection, which concerns concurrent changes in negative and positive emotions, and (b) emotional recovery from daily perceptions of peer rejection, which concerns subsequent changes in negative and positive emotions. Because depressive symptoms can compromise effectiveness of emotion regulation, it was investigated as a moderator for emotional reactivity and recovery to daily perceptions of peer rejection. The sample consisted

of 303 adolescents (59% girls; Mage = 14.20, SD = 0.54; range 13–16 years) who reported depressive symptoms at baseline and completed ecological momentary assessments of emotions and perceived peer rejection at nine random time-points per day for six consecutive days. Results from multi-level modeling analyses showed that perceived peer rejection was related to emotional reactivity (i.e., higher levels of negative emotions and lower levels of positive emotions). This effect was stronger for those with higher depressive symptoms. For emotional recovery, perceived peer rejection had lasting effects on adolescents’ negative emotions, but was not related to positive emotions. Depressive symptoms did not moderate effects

of perceived peer rejection on emotional recovery. This study provides a more nuanced understanding of how depressive symptoms amplify the emotional impact of perceived peer rejection in adolescents’ day-to-day lives.

Gaias, L., Lindstrom Johnson, S., Dumka, L., White, R., & Pettigrew, J. (2019). Positive school climate as a moderator of the negative effects of exposure to violence for Colombian adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 63(1-2), 17-31. 10.1002/ajcp.123000

In Colombia, many adolescents have experienced violence related to the decades-long armed conflict in the country and have witnessed or been directly victimized by violence in their communities, often related to gang activity or drug trafficking. Exposure to violence, both political and community violence, has detrimental implications for adolescent development. This

study used data from 1857 Colombian adolescents in an urban setting. We aim to understand the relations between exposure to violence and adolescent outcomes, both externalizing behaviors and developmental competence, and then to understand whether school climate (i.e., safety, connectedness, services) moderates these relations. Results demonstrate that armed conflict, community violence victimization, and witnessing community violence are positively associated with externalizing behaviors, but only armed conflict is negatively associated with developmental competence. School safety, connectedness, and services moderate the relation between community violence witnessing and externalizing behaviors. School services moderates the relation between community violence victimization and developmental competence. As students perceived more positive school climate, the effects of community violence exposure on outcomes were weakened. This study identifies potential levers for intervention regarding how schools can better support violence-affected youth through enhancements to school safety, connectedness, and services.

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