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December 6, 2004

Expanded Research Interests

I know we've all heard each other's 5 second overview on research interests about 100 times since orientation but I realized that I don’t really have a good idea on what everyone's really interested in. I know this will cross over a little bit with discussion about advisors but I thought I'd open up an entry to talk more in depth about what we each want to research (or multiple things we want to research or what we might want to research, etc). That way if we have overlap we can collaborate and brainstorm and possibly pull some grants together.

Basically I'm interesting in one very broad thing (marriage stability) in a very specific way. I'm in the works with Jason Carroll from BYU and a few other scholars to put out there a different view on marriage stability and formation. We base a lot of our work on Blaine Fower's book The Myth of Marital Happiness which basically outlines how important it is that married couples develop an "other-centered" perspective in their relationship as opposed to being focused on their own individual happiness. Drawing off that, Jason and I along with other scholars are proposing a shift away from the view that to make marriages better we need to improve skills (i.e. better communication, conflict resolution, etc) to one in which other-centered "virtues" such as empathy, friendship, generosity, and others are what will have a more lastly impact on creating a healthy marriage. We’re basically reacting to the notion that you can teach a couple a set of skills and they can have a happy marriage. We’re proposing that happy marriage runs deeper and is part of a more long-lasting developmental process. Specifically, Jason and I are planning an in depth investigation into the emerging adulthood population to see if the current climate and development of their relationships is preventing these virtues from developing and in turn leading to poor marriage outcomes.
I have a couple projects in the process of collecting data now that will yield two major datasets with these ideas. One is a national sample of couples that was meant to validate a questionnaire that evaluates individuals on the virtues I mentioned before but also has depression, anxiety, conflict resolution, satisfaction, and parenting style scales built in. I’ll also have a data set that had information on college-aged students and their parents and how they view what it means to be an adult and marriage readiness. Both should be ready to analyze soon and there a ton of data so if anyone wants so maybe team up on a potential research question let me know.

Posted by bwilloug at 12:22 PM

December 3, 2004


I thought it might be helpful to have dialogue on who we're thinking about for advisors and committee members and bounce ideas off each other. (I think it will be especially helpful to network for possible outside members.)

Very, very brief research track….something along the lines of tying links between marriage satisfaction and education via a virtue or “we-centered” approach and emerging adulthood development and behavior.

I already have an agreement with Bill Doherty that he'll be my advisor after this year (my intake advisor was Martha) and I'm debating for my next spot (only need one more person for my Master's committee) between Martha (quantitative/stats background), Hal (developmental background), or Jodi (college-aged behavior background) and then some mix of them for my doctoral committee. I have absolutely no idea who I'm going to have as outside people on my committee.

Anyway, hopefully this will open up some brainstorming.

Posted by bwilloug at 9:41 AM