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Research Interests

My research is focused on understanding how romantic partners' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during conflict are related to their individual well-being and to the health of their relationships. One of the most important assumptions in my work is that couple conflict is a normative, inevitable, and even necessary phenomenon. Although conflict is often assumed to be problematic, conflict can facilitate adaptation and positive growth and is one of the primary mechanisms by which change and reorganization take place. On the other hand, conflict can also be a major source of distress for romantic partners and dysfunctional conflict processes are linked to a wide range of negative outcomes.

At present, my research is focused on understanding a theoretical model of severe relationship distress called the polarization model. This model attempts to explain how some romantic partners become increasingly distant from one another over time in the ways they act, think, and feel and what factors increase risk for the occurrence of this phenomenon.

Opportunities for Students

Our research group is currently conducting a number of interdisciplinary projects on many different aspects of couple interaction. These projects include studies of couple therapies and relationship education programs in the United States, Germany, and Australia, a study of couple based therapy for married couples where one spouse has been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, a study of the links between family violence and couple interaction, and a study of couple interaction during daily life.

Another major focus of our research group is the development of computational tools and statistical models for studying couple interaction. Most current projects involve collaboration with colleagues from a number of disciplines such as electrical engineering and biostatistics. As a result, our research group is active in a number of areas outside of clinical psychology including speech signal processing, affective computing, computational linguistics, and statistical modeling for multiply nested designs. These aspects of the lab make it an excellent fit for students with backgrounds both within and outside of clinical psychology, students with interests in couple interaction, couple therapy, and behavior & emotion, and creative thinkers who are excited about interdisciplinary collaboration.

I will be accepting applications from potential graduates this year. Our lab is also accepting applications for a limited number of volunteer RA positions that would begin immediately. If interested, please contact Abby Boggins  to apply and for further information about opportunities in our lab.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Southern California (Clinical and Quantitative Psychology, Electrical Engineering, 2008-2012)
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (Clinical Psychology, 2008)
Internship, Veterans Administration, Los Angeles (APA-Accredited Clinical Psychology Internship, 2007-2008)
M.A., University of California, Los Angeles (Clinical Psychology, 2003)
B.S., Vanderbilt University (Psychology, 2000)
B.S., Vanderbilt University (Engineering Science, 2000)

Selected Publications

Adamo, C., Leo, K., Hogan, J.N., Crenshaw, A.O., Baucom, K.J.W., & Baucom, B.R.W. (2021). Negative partner attributions moderate the association between heart rate reactivity during relationship conflict and relationship satisfaction. Family Process, 60(3), 823-835.

Baucom, B. R.W., Dickenson, J. A., Atkins, D. C., Baucom, D. H., Fischer, M. S., Weusthoff, S., Hahlweg, K., & Zimmermann, T. (2015). The interpersonal process model of demand/withdraw behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(1), 80–90.

Baucom, B. R. W., Leo, K., Adamo, C., Georgiou, P., & Baucom, K. J. W. (2017). Conceptual and statistical issues in couples observational research: Rationale and methods for design decisions. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(8), 972–982.

Crenshaw, A. O., Christensen, A., Baucom, D. H., Epstein, N. B., & Baucom, B. R. W. (2017). Revised scoring and improved reliability for the Communication Patterns Questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 29(7), 913–925.
Hogan, J.N., Crenshaw, A.O., Baucom, K.J.W., & Baucom, B.R.W. (2021). Time Spent Together in Intimate Relationships: Implications for Relationship Functioning. Contemporary Family Therapy, 43, 226–233.
Leifker, F.R., Leo, K., Adamo, C., Baucom, B.R.W. (2021). Suicide as an interpersonal phenomenon: Dyadic methodological and statistical considerations in suicide research. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 51(1), 8-18.
Leo, K., Crenshaw, A. O., Hogan, J. N., Bourne, S. V., Baucom, K. J. W., & Baucom, B. R. W. (2021). A replication and extension of the interpersonal process model of demand/withdraw behavior: Incorporating subjective emotional experience. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(4), 534–545.
May, A. M., Crenshaw, A. O., Leifker, F., Bryan, C. J., & Baucom, B. R. (2019). Knowledge of suicide history, current depressive symptoms, and future suicide risk within couples. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 120, Article 103394.
Perry, N. S., Sullivan, T. J., Leo, K., Huebner, D. M., O'Leary, K. D., & Baucom, B. R. W. (2021). Using web-based technologies to increase reach, inclusion, and generalizability in behavioral observation research. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 983–993.
Rugo, K. F., Tabares, J. V., Crowell, S. E., Baucom, B. R., Rudd, M. D., & Bryan, C. J. (2020). The role of depression and suicidal cognitions as contributors to suicide risk among active duty soldiers reporting symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 265, 333-341.
Full list of my publications available on Google scholar


Colin Adamo

Kelsi Rugo

Robyn Kilshaw


Alex Crenshaw. Postdoctoral Scholar at Ryerson University

Jasara Hogan. Research Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina

Karena Leo. Postdoctoral Scholar at Duke University

Nick Perry. Research Assistant Professor at the University of Denver


Alexis May. Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University.

Feea Leifker. Research Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Behavioral Health Innovation and Dissemination Center at the University of Utah


Last Updated: 7/22/22