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The Couples & Health research lab focuses its research activities on the reciprocal relationship between couple functioning and health outcomes. That is, we are interested in how couple functioning affects health/illness and how health/illness affects couple functioning.

Currently, we are building on our Long-Distance Relationship (LDR) study that was conducted at The Family Institute two years ago using a community sample. We now want to replicate our findings with a student population where long-distance relationships are so common.

This research is a multi-site, multi-disciplinary study aiming to examine health and relationship outcomes for individuals in long distance relationship (LDR) arrangements, using a dyadic, longitudinal design. Using this data, we have three objectives:

  • Replicate findings from the previous cross-sectional study (Du Bois et al., 2016)
  • Test changes over time among individual health and relationship variables, e.g. the health of an individual as their relationship satisfaction goes down from baseline to follow-up
  • Assess for Actor-Partner Independence Model (APIM) effects (Otis, Rostosky, Riggle, et al., 2006), which test the effect of, e.g. a partner's stress on the individual
Tamara Sher, Ph.D.
Research Team

Principal Investigator: Tamara Sher, Ph.D.
Core Faculty, Marriage & Family Therapy Program
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Christine Marie Aiello
Graduate Student
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Don Baucom, Ph.D.
Richard Lee Simpson Distinguished Professor of Psychology
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Steve N. Du Bois, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Illinois Institute of Technology

Karolina Grotkowski
Graduate Student
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Arryn Guy
Graduate Student
Illinois Institute of Technology

Shveta Kumaria, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Clinical Scholar Fellow
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Tidarat Puranachaikere
Graduate Student
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Stephen Ramos, M.A.
Graduate Student
Illinois Institute of Technology

Seema Saigal, Ph.D.
Core Faculty, Psy.D. Program
Adler University

Catherine Schweigert
Undergraduate Student
Illinois Institute of Technology

Bahareh Sahebi, Psy.D.
Postdoctoral Clinical Scholar Fellow
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Danielle Weber, M.A.
Graduate Student
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Vaschele Williams
Graduate Student
Adler University

Wren Yoder
Graduate Student
Illinois Institute of Technology

Publications & Presentations

Papers

Anand, L., Du Bois, S.N., Sher, T.G., Gratkowski, K.G. (2018). Defying tradition: Gender roles in long-distance relationships. The Family Journal. Vol. 26(1), pp. 22-30.  

Sher, T.G., Halford, WK (2017). Couples and Health. In J. Fitzgerald (ed) Foundations for couples' therapy: Research for the real world (pp. 176-185). Taylor and Francis. 

Du Bois, S.N., Sher, T., Grotkowski, K., Aizenman, T., Slesinger, N., Cohen, M. (2016). Going the distance: Health in long-distance versus proximal relationships. The Family Journal. Vol. 24(1), pp.5-14.

Presentations

Anand, L., Du Bois, S., Sher, T.G., Grotkowski, K. (2017). Parental status: Examining the effects of child rearing in long-distance relationships. Poster Presentation. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists' Annual Conference. San Diego, November.

Du Bois, S., Grotkowski, K., Anand, L., Sher, T. G. (2017). Distance matters: Comparing the health and relationship ratings of men in long-distance relationships versus proximal relationships. Poster Presentation. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists' Annual Conference. San Diego, November.

Grotkowski, K., Du Bois, S., Sher, T. G., Anand, L. (2017). Does distance matter: Comparing the health and relationship ratings of women in long distance relationships versus proximal relationships. Poster Presentation. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists' Annual Conference. San Diego, November.