Dr. Butler's research website - Health and Interpersonal Systems (HIS)
All of the real challenges facing us, both as individuals and as societies, are highly complex – if they were simple they wouldn’t be challenging! I believe that critical thinking, careful empirical observation and social collaboration are the primary tools we have to tackle this complexity and to better the world. In my research, I employ dynamic systems theory and methods to investigate phenomena at the interface of emotions, self-regulation, relationships and health. As director of the Health and Interpersonal Systems (HIS) research group, I facilitate collaborative efforts to advance the scientific study of relational and emotional factors influencing physical and psychological well-being. I am also a member of the Mechanisms of Social-Relationships and Health (MESH) research initiative, which is an interdisciplinary group conducting health research at the interface of biology, pyschology, and sociology. My teaching focuses on dynamic processes in families, emotional and relational influences on health, and advanced statistical methods.
- Emotion regulation in close relationships
- Health, emotion and relationships
- Emotional psychophysiology
- Health behaviors (eating, activity) in a family context
Dynamic systems theory and methods
I investigate emotional, self-regulatory and relationship mechanisms that contribute to physical and mental health. To guide this research I think in terms of interpersonal emotion systems, which involve the dynamic interaction of emotion components (subjective experience, expressive behavior, physiology) within and between partners over time in social interactions and close relationships.
To study interpersonal emotion systems, I use a multimethod approach, including laboratory based manipulations, in-depth qualitative interviews and daily diaries collected from couples or families. The data from my studies includes self- and partner-reports (structured questionnaires, open-ended interviews), behavioral observations rated from videotapes and physiological indices. All measures are taken repeatedly over time-periods ranging from a few minutes to several years. To analyze such data, I make use of statistical methods appropriate for investigating complex intrapersonal and interpersonal systems evolving over time.
My current research includes studies of:
• emotional and relationship factors involved in unhealthy eating
• breast cancer survival and the interplay of inflammation, emotion, and family
• computational approaches for modeling temporal interpersonal emotion systems (TIES)
• cultural influences on emotions and close relationships
• physiological correlates of emotion and emotion regulation.
Health is a complex dynamic state. Although many of the factors influencing health are beyond the individual’s control (e.g. global economics, genetics), emotions and relationships are potentially malleable. It is for this reason that I target socio-emotional processes contributing to well-being. If we can better understand these processes we will be able to speak to the question, “What can individuals do to promote the health of themselves and their families, despite challenging life circumstances?” Answers to this question are central to developing successful behavioral health interventions.
- PI, Relationships, Emotion and Eating: A Dynamic Systems Investigation of Weight Gain. Funded by the National Institute of Health.
- PI, Surviving Breast Cancer: The Dynamics of Inflammation, Emotion, and Family. Funded by the American Cancer Society.
- PI, Computational Temporal Interpersonal Emotional Systems (Comp-TIES). In collaboration with Kobus Barnard, University of Arizona.
- PI, A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Emotion Regulation in Close Relationships. In collaboration with Shanmukh Gamble, Karnatak University, India.
- PI, Emotional Coregulation and Health
- Dynamics of family relationships (undergraduate)
- Research methods (graduate)
- Multilevel modeling (graduate)
- Relationships, emotion and health (graduate)
Please contact Dr. Butler if you are unable to locate one of the publications listed below.
Reed, R. G., Randall, A. K., Post, J. H. & Butler, E. A. (in press). Partner influence and in-phase versus anti-phase physiological linkage in romantic couples. International Journal of Psychophysiology
Meltzer, A. L., Novak, S. A., McNulty, J. K., Butler, E. A., & Karney, B. R. (in press). Brief report on marital satisfaction predicting weight gain in early marriage. Health Psychology
Totenhagen, C. J., Serido, J., Curran, M. A., & Butler, E. A. (in press). Daily hassles and uplifts: A diary study on understanding relationship quality. Journal of Family Psychology.
Butler, E. A. & Sbarra, D. A. (in press). Health, emotion, and relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Burke, T. J., Randall, A. K., Corkery, S. A., Young, V, J., & Butler, E. A. (in press). "You’re going to eat that?" Relationship processes and conflict among mixed weight couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Roberts, N. A., Manos, R. C., Kanter, J. W., Butler, E. A., & Baker, D. (in press). Dyadic synchrony in police marriages: A preliminary investigation. Family Process
Randall, A. K., Corkery, S. A., Deepti, D., Kamble, S. V., & Butler, E. A. (in press). “We’re having a good (or bad) day”: Differences in emotional synchrony in married couples in the United States and India. Family Science
Butler, E. A. & Randall, A. K. (in press). Emotional coregulation in close relationships. Emotion Review.
Butler, E. A. (2011). Temporal interpersonal emotion systems: The “TIES” that form relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 15, 367-393.
Butler, E. A. (2011). Three views of emotion regulation and health. Social & Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 563–577.
Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Novak, S., Butler, E. A., & and Karney, B. R. (2011). Marriage and weight: Couples are more satisfied when wives have a smaller BMI than their husbands. Social Psychological and Personality Science,2, 416-424.
Ellis, B. J., Schlomer, G. L., Tilley, E. H., & Butler, E. A. (2011). Impact of fathers on risky sexual behavior in daughters: A Genetically and environmentally controlled sibling study. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 317-332.
Totenhagen, C., Butler, E. A., & Ridley, C. (in press). Daily stress, closeness, and satisfaction in gay and lesbian couples. To appear in Personal Relationships.
Butler, E. A., Young, V. J., & Randall, A. K. (2010). Suppressing to please, eating to cope: The effect of overweight women's emotion suppression on romantic relationships and eating. Journal of Clinical and Social Psychology, 29, 599-623.
Mauss, I. B., Butler, E. A., Roberts, N. A., & Chu, A. (2010). Emotion control values and responding to an anger provocation in Asian-American and European-American individuals. Cognition andEmotion, 24, 1026-1043.
Mauss, I. B. & Butler, E. A. (2010). Cultural background moderates the relationship between emotion control values and cardiovascular challenge versus threat responses to an anger provocation. Biological Psychology, 84, 521-530.
Butler, E. A., Lee, T. L., & Gross, J. J. (2009). Does expressing your emotions raise or lower your blood pressure? The answer depends on cultural context. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40, 510-517.
Butler, E. A. & Gross, J. J. (2009). Emotion and emotion regulation: Integrating individual and social levels of analysis. Emotion Review, 1, 86-87.
Rohrbaugh, M. J., Shoham, V., Butler, E. A., Hasler, B. P., & Berman, J. S. (2009). Affective synchrony in dual- and single-smoker couples: Further evidence of "Symptom-System Fit"? Family Process, 48, 55-67.
Butler, E. A., Lee, T. L., & Gross, J. J. (2007). Emotion regulation and culture: Are the social consequences of emotion suppression culture-specific? Emotion, 7, 30-48.
Shoham, V., Butler, E. A., Rohrbaugh, M. J., & Trost, S. (2007). Symptom-system fit in couples: Emotion regulation when one or both partners smoke. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 848-853.
Butler, E. A., Wilhelm, F. H, & Gross, J. J. (2006). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, emotion, and emotion regulation during social interaction. Psychophysiology, 43, 612-622.
Butler, E. A., Egloff, B., Wilhelm, F. H., Smith, N. C., Erickson, E. A., & Gross, J. J. (2003). The social consequences of expressive suppression. Emotion, 3, 48-67.