The quality of adult intimate relationships has a tremendous impact on the personal and family well-being of adults and children. Individuals in positive relationships have higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of mental and physical health issues.
Why then do some intimate relationships continue despite considerable unhappiness whereas others dissolve despite high levels of satisfaction? Why do some relationships flourish whereas others falter?
The answer to these questions lies in the study of romantic relationship development. The study of the development of romantic relationships is particularly important because it provides information to researchers about the process by which relationships improve or deteriorate and informs practitioners about potential sources of intervention. Therefore, the central goal of the HEART Lab is to understand how romantic relationships change over time and the developmental processes underlying these changes. Within this broad goal, the HEART Lab focuses on two specific issues: (1) understanding changes in commitment and relationship maintenance processes in romantic relationships, and (2) understanding the impact of relationship processes on health.