In general, my lab focuses on issues of social connection and disconnection. I’m well versed in attachment theory, and have spent a lot of time working on issues around the intersection of attachment avoidance and intimacy (e.g., Muise et al., 2020; Sanscartier & MacDonald, 2019; Schrage et al., 2020). More recently we've been focusing on predictors of well-being among singles, such as sexual satisfaction (Park et al., 2020). However, much of the research in my lab is student-driven, so it is difficult to anticipate what direction the lab’s work will take in the future. For example, my past students have developed ideas around fears of being single (e.g., Spielmann et al., 2013), relationship decision making (e.g., Joel et al., 2013), and implicit beliefs about sexuality (e.g., Maxwell et al., 2017). My current students focus on issues including awe in romantic relationships, developing taxonomies of singles' motives for entering romantic relationships, and even the process of conducting research itself. I’m always open to pursing a good idea.
I do intend to continue investigating the experiences of single individuals. Long-term singlehood is becoming increasingly common yet little is known about different types of singles (Pepping, MacDonald, & Davis, 2018). My lab is working on one aspect of this issue by using Self-Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000) to try to classify the broad range of motives singles might have to seek romantic relationships (including not having motivation to be in a relationship). We hope to understand the different paths to well-being for different types of singles.
Some broader issues that interest me now include thinking about attachment theory in light of longitudinal findings on the relatively small role of childhood treatment in adult attachment security (see Fraley & Roisman, 2019), the role of Big 5 Personality traits in attraction and maintenance of relationships (e.g., Park & MacDonald, 2019), and better understanding what people are doing psychologically when they let go of a close relationship (e.g., LeRoy et al., 2019).
Please note I am accepting graduate students for Fall 2022.
Photo credit: Me!