Close Relationships Laboratory 

Research Team

Laboratory Director

Richard Slatcher, Ph.D.

Dr. Richard Slatcher is a Professor of Social Psychology at Wayne State University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and his Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to arriving at Wayne State, he completed a two-year NIMH post-doctoral fellowship in health psychology at UCLA.

Understanding the impact of peoples' close relationships on their well-being and health is the central focus of Rich's research and teaching.
His research has two main facets: basic research on close relationship processes--particularly intimacy processes of self-disclosure and partner responsiveness--and investigations of the links among close relationships, biological processes and physical health. An example of this research is the lab's current projects on the impact of people's smartphone use and social media engagement on their ability (or inability) to be responsive in their face-to-face relationships. 

Rich teaches Introductory Psychology, Health Psychology, and Social Psychology at the undergraduate level and has taught Biobases of Health Psychology and the Social Psychology of Close Relationships at the graduate level. He is the recipient of the Caryl Rusbult Close Relationships Early Career Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) and the award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology by an Early Career Professional from the Society for Health Psychology (APA Division 38).

For an overview of current research projects in the lab, please visit the research page.

Outside of academic life, Rich is a husband and proud dad to two boys aged 14 and 12. He loves to ski, surf (not in Michigan...YET), hike and travel (see his wife's fantastic blog chronicling their travel adventures here). He occasionally tweets.

Research Scientists and Postdoctoral Fellows

Allison Farrell, Ph.D.

Dr. Allison Farrell received her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2016. Her research focuses on the interplay among close relationships, stress, and health across the lifespan. In particular, she is interested in the psychological, behavioral, and biological mechanisms linking parent-child and romantic relationship functioning with physical health outcomes. To find out more, see her CV and Twitter page. She is a RoBUST postdoctoral research fellow.

Lab Manager

Daniel Saleh

Dan is the Lab Manager and Project Coordinator for the Asthma in the Lives of Families Today (ALOFT) study. He received his BA in psychology from Wayne State.

Graduate Students

Jacqueline Rodriguez

Jackie received her BS in psychology from Florida State University. Her research interests focus on stress and its association to biological and psychological processes and the resulting physical health outcomes. Additionally, she is interested in exploring how romantic relationships and socioeconomic status can mitigate or exacerbate the effects of psychosocial stress on health. She is a first year doctoral student in Social Psychology.

Sabrina Thelen

Sabrina received her Honors Degree in Psychology (BS) from Central Michigan University. Her research interests focus on the impact of close relationship processes on individual and family health and well-being. Specifically, she is interested in exploring conflict in close relationships and investigating relationship processes such as perceived partner responsiveness and conflict and their impacts on health and well-being. She is also interested in studying the positive and negative roles of technology and social media use in individuals’ lives and how they influence both individual and romantic relationship outcomes. She is a third year doctoral student in Social Psychology.

Michael Harvey

Michael received his Honors Degree with Distinction in Psychology (BA) from the University of Delaware where he was a research assistant in Dr. Lisa Jaremka's Close Relationships and Health Lab and Dr. Chad Forbes’ Social Neuroscience Lab. He is a third year doctoral student in Social Psychology.

Julia Briskin

Julia received her BA in psychology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Her research interests focus on how relationship processes and self-regulation processes interact to influence physical and psychological health in romantic couples. Specifically, her research investigates interpersonal influences on self-regulation, the effects of social support on goal pursuit in romantic couples, technology interference in relationships, and day to day relationship conflict.  She is also interested in how mindfulness may influence self-regulation, relationship processes, and relationship conflict resolution. She is a fifth year doctoral student in Social Psychology

Ledina Imami

Ledina received her BA in psychology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her research interests focus on exploring the ways in which distinct social contexts and family relationships may influence health and well-being. As part of the Close Relationships Laboratory, Ledina intends to investigate early parent-child interactions across different socioeconomic contexts and the psychobiological mechanisms through which they may affect emotional and biological responses to stress. Ledina is a sixth year doctoral student in Social Psychology.  

Marķa Alonso-Ferres

Maria received her BS in Psychology and Master.Res. in Social Psychology from Granada University (Spain). Her research interests focus on analyzing the impact of romantic relationships processes on (inter)personal well-being during conflictive situations. Specifically, her research investigates how processes such as power, perceived support and conflicts influence people’s communication and finally their well-being through emotions and their emotional regulation. She is also interested in analyzing the gender differences in the previous processes, as well as studying the role of specific emotions at both interpersonal and intergrupal level. Maria is a third year doctoral student in Social Psychology at the University of Granada and is a Visiting International Scholar in the WSU Close Relationships Lab in fall 2018.

Data Manager

Russell Houpt 

Russell is the data manager in the lab. He recently graduated from Hope College with a BA in math and psychology. He helps build, maintain, and organize databases for the lab and works with the research assistants as they code and enter the data. 

Lab Alumni

Dr. Sarah Stanton is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Samuele Zilioli is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Psychology and Family Medicine at Wayne State University.

Dr. Erin Tobin is a Senior Staff Psychologist at Henry Ford Health System.

Dr. Keith Welker is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. Heidi Kane is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Peilian Chi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Macau.

research people papers home