News & Events

Baker to present new paper in APA invited address

Dr. Levi Baker has a forthcoming paper, “Remaining in a situationally aggressive relationship: The role of relationship self-efficacy” in the journal Personal Relationships.* The paper examines the role of self-efficacy, or beliefs about perceived capability, in the maintenance of relationships that are subject to situational violence. Baker will present this work as part of an invited address at the American Psychological Association Convention in Denver, CO in August, 2016.

Baker earned his Ph.D. at Florida State University in 2014, under the direction of Dr. James McNulty, and stayed on to pursue postdoctoral training for one year. He joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology as Assistant Professor in 2015, establishing the Close Relationships Lab. Broadly, research in the lab is aimed at identifying how couples can effectively solve the relationship problems that they are facing.

Recent projects examine the role of within-person abilities (e.g., self-regulation, intelligence) and interpersonal behavior (e.g., confrontational; supportive) in the successful navigation of relationship problems. Recently, Baker started a longitudinal study of newlywed couples that will examine the transition to marriage. Couples will be followed for two years, during which they will visit the lab repeatedly to have problem-resolution discussions that will be coded and analyzed for interpersonal behaviors. Ultimately, Baker and colleagues will be able to identify the effectiveness of the problem solving behaviors and their relation to different cognitive abilities, including working memory, self-regulation, creativity, oral expression and listening comprehension. In addition to this longitudinal research, Baker also conducts several lab-based studies with undergraduate participants. He welcomes both undergraduate and prospective graduate students to contact him about possibilities for pursuing research training in his lab.

*Full research citation and Abstract:

Baker, L. R., Cobb, R. A., McNulty, J. K., Lambert, N. M., & Fincham, F. D. (in press). Remaining in a situationally aggressive relationship: The role of relationship self-efficacy. Personal Relationships.

Relationship self-efficacy is the belief that one can resolve relationship conflicts, and it may lead victims of situational violence to remain in their relationships because they expect to minimize subsequent violence. Indeed, a longitudinal study of two samples of college students demonstrated that relationship self-efficacy moderates the effects of victimization on relationship dissolution; IPV victimization was positively associated with dissolution among intimates low in relationship self-efficacy but unassociated with dissolution among intimates high in relationship self-efficacy. Interestingly, although relationship self-efficacy was negatively associated with dissolution among victims, it was associated with experiencing less subsequent IPV in one sample. Ultimately, whether victims’ relationship self-efficacy is adaptive may depend on the extent to which any minimization of conflicts eliminates violence.