My professional interests are generally in the area of couple functioning. Most broadly, I am interested in how couples make sense of and respond to major relationship traumas and also how to improve relationship health. Specifically, that has translated into research projects focusing on: (a) the forgiveness process, (b) infidelity and couple therapy, (c) domestic violence, and (d) intervention research designed to improve relationship health and physical health. One of the newest projects is examining the role of mindfulness in relationship functioning.
Currently, I am finishing up and analyzing data from a project funded by the National Cancer Institute that involves a couple-based smoking cessation intervention for Latinos in collaboration with faculty at Duke University. The study examines the efficacy of a couple-based randomized clinical trial for pregnant Latino families with a male partner who smokes. This intervention capitalized on a potential teachable moment, a new pregnancy, that is likely to highlight a smoker’s motivation to quit smoking for the health of his family. This project has yielded a great deal of data on Latino couple relationships.
We are also in the middle of a large federally funded project to implement James Cordova’s Marriage Checkup with low income couples. Currently, 300 couples are enrolled in the program with another 250 projected to be enrolled before the program finishes. Obviously, this study will yield a larger amount of data for students to explore with me. Applicants with interest in this area are highly encouraged to apply.
Personally, I used to have hobbies until I had my two daughters, ages 8 and 4, and now my hobby is folding laundry and driving kids around. When I do have some time, I love to read, hike, do yoga, and dream about gardening. I also have a small private practice, which gives me fresh ideas for supervision, teaching, and research.