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.

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 (PSY1010) at the undergraduate level and the Social Psychology of Close Relationships and Biobases of Health Psychology 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.

In addition to his research and teaching, Rich is Chair of the Wayne State Researchers of Biobehavioral Health in Urban Settings Today (RoBUST). 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 Psychology, with an emphasis on social psychology and interpersonal relationships, from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on how close relationships (particularly parent-child and romantic relationships) can both alleviate and exacerbate stress, what individual and relationship factors put individuals at risk for experiencing stress in relationships, and the implications of these processes for physical health. Her work frequently utilizes behavioral observations, biological measures, and longitudinal approaches to test how interpersonal interactions get under the skin to affect health over time. 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

Sabrina Thelen

Sabrina received her BS in psychology 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 the links between relationship processes such as perceived partner responsiveness and conflict, the impact of conflict on health and well-being, and ways in which conflict can be effectively resolved in close relationships. She is a second 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 second 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 fourth 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 fifth year doctoral student in Social Psychology.  

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.

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