Dr. Levi Baker will NOT be accepting applications for graduate students for Fall 2021 admission
The Close Relationships Lab aims to understand how people can resolve problems in their close relationships.
By using diverse methods....
  • Observational
  • Experimental
  • Reaction time
  • Longitudinal and diary
And taking a contextual approach, by examining how problem-resolution differs across...
  • Partners
  • Relationships
  • External environments
  • Problems


What communication strategies are most effective for maintaining and strengthening close relationships? How can intimates motivate one another to behave in a constructive manner? Should intimates express their emotions to their partners? What about their gratitude and appreciation? My research has shown that the benefits and costs of these communication strategies depend on the recipient of such communication.


How can intimates effectively resolve their relationship problems? My theoretical model of relationship problem-solving highlights the stages of problem-solving (e.g., recognizing the problem, identifying and implementing a strategy to resolve the problem), identifies specific problem-resolution behaviors (e.g., blaming a partner, demanding behavioral changes, providing support) that can facilitate or hinder the resolution process, and highlights specific contexts in which these behaviors will be effective or ineffective. For example, although confronting partners may motivate partners who believe they are capable of changing their behavior, it may decrease the motivation of partners who doubt their ability to change their behavior.


Is it always beneficial to perceive oneself in a positive light? In general, people are motivated to believe they possess a variety of desirable traits, such as competence, kindness, goodness, attractiveness, and intelligence. But what are the consequences of viewing oneself in a favorable manner? My research has demonstrated that the implications of self-compassion, self-esteem, and self-efficacy depend on other sources of motivation to maintain close relationships.

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