About Stephanie

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. I completed a Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Toronto in 2013, working under the supervision of Dr. Geoff MacDonald. I then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. When I'm not working, I enjoy crossword puzzles, cooking, and a nice glass of wine.

Research Interests

What motivates people to pursue romantic relationships with undesirable partners, such as someone unresponsive, someone who doesn't meet their needs, or an ex-partner who has recently rejected them? With literally millions of possible romantic partners to choose from, what forces drive people to put themselves in risky or dissatisfying relationships?

My program of research explores the role of insecurity in unhealthy relational choices. Specifically, I examine how insecurities promote maladaptive relational outcomes by exaggerating perceptions of threats and restraining perceptions of rewards. My research demonstrates that insecure individuals make many maladaptive relational choices based on threat avoidance motivations, such as the fear of rejection or the fear of being single. My research also suggests that the less examined motivating force of perceived opportunity for rewards, such as intimacy and close connection, is an important predictor of romantic decisions. Furthermore, I have been careful to examine the impact of these forces through the lens of relevant theoretical frames, especially attachment theory. Taken together, my program of research highlights the importance of individual differences in perceptions of social threat and reward for romantic relationship regulation and sheds light on the factors underlying maladaptive relational choices.

As a close relationships researcher, I take a multi-method approach to understanding insecurities and relational outcomes. I have developed expertise in experimental, qualitative, and longitudinal methods, implementing a variety of statistical techniques including factor analysis, bootstrapping, survival analysis, and multilevel modeling.

Teaching Interests

PSY2600: Psychology of Social Behavior
PSY3010: Statistical Methods in Psychology.