Professor of Psychology
Areas of Expertise
Health Psychology, Social Psychology
BioMy research focuses on the study of interpersonal relations. Much of my work examines questions about how close relationships help people to thrive through adversity and through the pursuit of life challenges. My program of research focuses on topics including social support and caregiving, attachment, exploration, touch, and play -- and the effects that these relationship processes have on important outcomes such as personal health/well being, personal growth, and relationship stability/well-being. This research involves the use of observational and physiological assessments of relational dynamics, as well as longitudinal methods to identify predictors of health and longevity.
Examples of research projects involve investigations of (a) the importance of relationships in the lives of the older adults -- the impact of relationship dynamics on the happiness, health, and quality of life of the elderly, (b) the importance of the marital relationship in facilitating the transition to retirement, (c) relationship processes in newlyweds that predict flourishing, stable relationships versus decline and divorce, and (d) predictors and consequences of support/caregiving, play, and various forms of touch, within relationships. This work has been funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Science Foundation.
Feeney, B. C., & Lemay, E. P. (2012). Surviving Relationship Threats: The role of emotional capital. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1004-1017.
Feeney, B. C., & Thrush, R. L. (2010). Relationship influences on exploration in adulthood: The characteristics and function of a secure base. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 57-76.
Feeney, B. C. (2007). The dependency paradox in close relationships: Accepting dependence promotes independence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 268-285.
Feeney, B. C. (2004). A secure base: Responsive support of goal strivings and exploration in adult intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 631-648.
Feeney, B. C., & Cassidy, J. (2003). Reconstructive memory related to adolescent-parent conflict interactions: The influence of attachment-related representations on immediate perceptions and changes in perceptions over time. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 85, 945-955.
Feeney, B. C., & Collins, N. C. (2003). Motivations for caregiving in adult intimate relationships: Influences on caregiving behavior and relationship functioning. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 950-968.
Feeney, B. C., & Collins, N. L. (2001). Predictors of caregiving in adult intimate relationships: An attachment theoretical perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 972-994.