How can we learn about the causes and modifiers of human suffering when strong experimental methods are not ethical or feasible? One approach is to collect systematic observational data, and to attempt to identify structural relations among the variables. This approach is greatly aided by the development of sophisticated multivariate methods that allow variables to be controlled statistically in mathematical models of the human suffering and coping. However, such models are never perfect. They need constant scrutiny, critical appraisal, and further development. My research is on the interface of developing methodology and substantive psychological questions in social psychology, specifically social support in intimate relationships.
My methodology research has been primarily in psychometrics, sampling, and multilevel models for analysis of growth and change. Current interests include the design of longitudinal studies, regression and difference score adjustment and mediation analysis. I am also particularly interested in statistical approaches to studies of dependent processes in social relationships. Finally, I am interested in the social psychology of response effects in surveys.
My current social psychology research is on coping and support processes that are available to stressed persons who have intimate relationships. We are trying to understand why well intended support efforts by intimate partners sometimes have short term negative consequences. I retain interests in mental health epidemiology, particularly as applied to Latino populations.
I am a past President of the American Psychopathological Association, and I organized the 2008 meeting around the theme of "Causal thinking and psychopathology research". I am also past President of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, a small research society that publishes the journal, Multivariate Behavioral Research.
At NYU I run the NYU Couples Research Lab in the Social Psychology area. We are carrying out a series of studies of the costs and benefits of social support during stressful times, conflict resolution & goal regulation within intimate couples, conceptions of the couple as a higher order entity, and the role of sexual intimacy in maintaining relationships. We are pursuing both substantive and methodological research questions with these data. Our lab collaborates with the lab of Niall Bolger at Columbia University.