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James McNulty

Research statement

My program of research focuses on how strong beliefs may change or remain stable over time. For the most part, I have addressed this issue in the context of close relationships, where initially positive beliefs frequently become negative, despite partners’ strong motives to maintain them. This transformation raises the possibility that there may be limits to social psychological theories that suggest people possess effective techniques for maintaining their desired beliefs. My long-term research goals are to understand and define these limits and, in doing so, to suggest directions for promoting the resilience of initially satisfying beliefs about close relationships. In pursuit of these goals, I conduct longitudinal research on newlywed couples to determine the impact of various cognitive, behavioral, and personality variables on changes in marital satisfaction over time. Issues I am currently investigating include, expectations, forgiveness, cognitive structure, physical attractiveness, psychological and physical abuse, and sexual satisfaction.

Awards

  • 2009 – 2011 - NIH grant “Differentiating between global and specific expectancies
                  for a marriage”
  • 2009 - Early Career Award, Relationship Researchers Interest Group, the
                 Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • 2007 - Scholarly and Research Incentive Funds (SARIF) Award – $16,400,
                 University of Tennessee
  • 2007 - Professional Development Award – $5,000, University of Tennessee
  • 2007 - College Convocation Teaching Award, Departmental Nominee, University of
                 Tennessee
  • 2004 - College Small Research Grant Award – $1,000, The Ohio State University
  • 2002 - Seed Grant Award – $18,500, The Ohio State University, Mansfield
  • 1997 - Phi Beta Kappa, University of Florida

Selected Publications

McNulty, J. K. (2010). When positive processes hurt relationships. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 167-171.

McNulty, J. K., & *Russell, V. M. (2010). When “negative” behaviors are positive: A contextual analysis of the long-term effects of problem-solving behaviors on changes in relationship satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 587-604.

Luchies, L. B., Finkel, E. J., McNulty, J. K., & Kumashiro, M. (2010). The doormat effect: When forgiving erodes self-respect and self-concept clarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 734-749.

*Baker, L. & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Shyness and marriage: Does shyness shape even established relationships? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 665-676. “Most frequently-read article” in PSPB during the month of May 2010.

*Little, K. C., McNulty, J. K., & *Russell, V. M. (2010). Sex buffers intimates against the negative implications of attachment insecurity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 484-498.

*Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Body image and marital satisfaction: Evidence for the mediating role of sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 156-164.

*Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Sexual narcissism and the perpetration of sexual aggression. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 926-939.

McNulty, J. K. (2010). Forgiveness increases the likelihood of subsequent partner transgressions in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 787-790.

*Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Sexual narcissism scale. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd Ed.). New York: Rutledge

*Wenner, C., *Russell, V. M., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Attitudes toward unconventional sex scale. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd Ed.). New York: Rutledge.

Fisher T. D., & McNulty J. K. (Eds.). (2009). Current Directions in Sexuality and Intimate Relationships: Readings from the American Psychological Society. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism and interpersonal negativity: The independent contributions of behavior and perceptions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1439-1450.

McNulty, J. K., & Hellmuth, J. C. (2008). Emotion regulation and intimate partner violence in newlyweds. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 794-797.

Haugen, P. T., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K. (2008). Empathic accuracy and adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 709-727.
 
McNulty, J. K., O’Mara, E. M., & Karney B. R. (2008). Benevolent cognitions as a strategy of relationship maintenance: Don’t sweat the small stuff…but it’s not all small stuff. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 631-646.

McNulty, J. K., & Fisher, T. D. (2008). Gender differences in response to sexual expectancies and changes in sexual frequency: A short-term longitudinal investigation of sexual satisfaction in newly married heterosexual couples Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 229-240.
 
McNulty, J. K. (2008). Tendencies to forgive in marriage: Putting the benefits into context Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 171-175.
 
McNulty, J. K., Neff, L. A., & Karney, B. R. (2008). Beyond initial attraction: Physical attractiveness in newlywed marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 135-143.
 
Hellmuth, J. C., & McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism, marital violence, and the moderating role of stress and behavioral skills. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 166-180.
 
Fisher, T. D., & McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism and marital satisfaction: The mediating role played by the sexual relationship. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 112-122.
 
Frye, N. E., McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2008). When are constraints on leaving a marriage related to negative behavior within the marriage? Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 153-161.
 
Moore, T. M., Stuart, G. L., McNulty, J. K., Addis, M. E., Cordova, J. V., & Temple, J. R. (2008). Domains of masculine gender role stress and intimate partner violence in a clinical sample of violent men. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 9, 82-89.
 
Widman, L., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K., & Little, K. C. (2006). Sexual communication and contraceptive use in adolescent dating couples. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 893-899.         
 
Severy, L., Jacobs, J., Klein, C.T., & McNulty, J. (2006). Acceptability of a home monitor used to aid in conception: Psychosocial factors and couple dynamics. Contraception, 73, 65-71.      
 
McNulty, J. K. & Karney, B. R. (2004). Positive expectations in the early years of marriage: Should couples expect the best or brace for the worst? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 729-743.
 
McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2002). Expectancy confirmation in appraisals of marital interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 764-775.
 
Shepperd, J. A., & McNulty, J. K. (2002). The affective consequences of expected and unexpected outcomes. Psychological Science, 13, 85-88.
 
Severy, L., Klein, C. T., & McNulty, J. (2002). Acceptability of personal home monitoring for contraception: Longitudinal and contextual factors. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 87-96.
 
McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2001). Attributions in marriage: Integrating specific and global evaluations of a relationship. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 943-955.
 
Karney, B. R., McNulty, J. K., & Bradbury, T. N.  (2001). Cognition and the development of close relationships. In G. J. Fletcher (Ed.), Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology (Vol 2, pp. 32-59). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Inc.
 
Karney, B. R., McNulty, J. K., & Frye, N. E. (2001).  A social-cognitive perspective on the maintenance and deterioration of relationship satisfaction. In Harvey, J. H. & Wenzel, A. E. (Eds.), Close Romantic Relationships (pp. 195-214). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

James McNulty

James McNulty

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Florida (2001)

Email: jmcnulty@utk.edu
James K. McNulty’s web page
Phone: 865-974-3325

Key words: Social Psychology, marital relationships