IARR 2018 Keynote Speakers

There will be four amazing keynote speakers at IARR 2018, a description of each (in alphabetical order) is presented below.

Dr. Tamara Afifi


Dr. Tamara Afifi is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California-Santa Barbara.  Her research focuses on communication patterns that foster risk and resiliency in families and other interpersonal relationships, with particular emphasis on:  (1) how people communicate when they are stressed and the impact of these communication patterns on personal and relational health and (2) information regulation (privacy, secrets, disclosure, avoidance, stress contagion).  Her work centers on families as communicative systems of stress and resilience.  She examines how environmental factors (e.g., divorce, refugee camps, natural disasters, fast paced families, chronic illness, the Great Recession) interact with family members’ communication patterns (e.g., conflict, stressful disclosures, social support, avoidance, verbal rumination, communal coping) to affect stress, adaptation, growth, and physical/mental/relational health.  Her most recent research explores the influence of parents’ communication patterns on adolescents’ and parents’ biological stress responses (e.g., stress hormones).  She uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods (e.g., quantitative lab and field studies; observational coding; surveys; physiological and biological data; interviews) and data analysis techniques in her research.



Dr. Kira Birditt


Dr. Kira Birditt is a Research Associate Professor in the Life Course Development Program of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on how people react to interpersonal problems and whether those reactions vary across the lifespan. Her research also examined the circumstances under which positive and negative aspects of relationships are associated with physical and psychological well-being. She recently completed a five year K99/R00 grant from NIA in which she received training in biological systems and collected data regarding daily interpersonal problems and biological indicators of stress (Daily Health, Stress, and Relationships Study).



Dr. Guy Bodenmann


Guy Bodenmann is professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). He graduated at the University of Fribourg and was guest reach fellow at Dr. John Gottman’s lab at the University of Washington in the early 90ies. He is specialized in research on stress and coping in couples, longitudinal analyses of relationship evolution, the impact of relationship functioning on mental disorders of partners and children and strengthening couples in relationship education (Couples Coping Enhancement Training: CCET) and coping-oriented couple therapy. Currently he is conducting a longitudinal study on strengthening couples during the transition to parenthood where the effects of relationship education during this vulnerable phase in couples’ life on their relationship functioning, their well-being and children at age 3 and 4 are examined. His major research focus lies on the impact of daily hassles as well as critical life events on couples’ satisfaction, communication, well-being and sexuality and how couples cope together with adversities (dyadic coping). He developed the Dyadic Coping Inventory (DCI) as well as a coding system for assessing dyadic coping in video-taped couple interactions.

Guy Bodenmann is director of three post-graduated clinical training programs and director of a clinic for couple therapy and psychotherapy with children and adolescents.


Dr. Jeffry Simpson (Past President)


Dr. Jeffry Simpson is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses within six areas: attachment processes, human mating and decision-making, empathic accuracy, social influence in romantic relationships, social development and health outcomes, and social development and parental investment. His program of research on adult attachment, funded by NIMH, examines how attachment processes and adult attachment orientations are associated with relationship functioning and well-being, particularly when partners are distressed. His work on human mating, funded by NSF, examines how individuals make mating decisions, the conditions under which they do and do not delay gratification, and how they make trade-offs on different life history-relevant dimensions. His research on empathic accuracy, funded by NSF, explores the conditions under which people are accurate versus inaccurate at inferring their partners' private thoughts and feelings during social interactions. His research on social influence examines when, how, and why individuals use different social influence tactics to persuade their partners and which tactics are most effective in different situational contexts. A recent program of research on social development and adult health, funded by the NIA, is investigating how social experiences encountered earlier in life are linked with physical health at mid-life. His most recent program of research, funded by NSF, examines how early life experiences along with interpersonal variables are prospectively related to parenting and co-parenting in adulthood.