Matthew Johnson

Assistant Professor

Phone: 780-492-5008
Department: Human Ecology
Office: 339 Human Ecology
Office Hours: By appointment
Address: University of Alberta
339 Human Ecology
Edmonton, AB
Canada T6G 2N1

Job/Research Area: Assistant Professor, Family Ecology

Curriculum Vita

My area of research is focused on intimate relationship formation, development, and maintenance from the transition to adulthood into midlife, and understanding the key couple processes that contribute to relational and individual health. This broad interest leads to several specific lines of research.

First, I use secondary data and a developmental systems lens to explore how prior life experiences influence functioning within later intimate relationships. I am part of a team that recently received a four-year Insight Grant from SSHRC to explore midlife relationship functioning with data gathered from a sample of Canadians over 25 years. I already used these data to understand how changes in symptoms of depression and expressions of anger during the transition to adulthood are linked with relationship outcomes during midlife directly and indirectly through perceptions of life stress in young adulthood. I am currently recruiting a PhD student with longitudinal data analysis skills to work on this project. The grant provides research assistant funding for three years and includes stipends for conference travel and advanced statistical training.

A second line of research explores the mechanisms through which intimate relationships influence health outcomes. Using data from a pilot study of 117 couples where one partner is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I have written a series of manuscripts specifically examining how the coping efforts of the patient and healthy spouse impact important type 2 diabetes outcomes, such as adhering to a healthful diet or engaging in regular exercise. The initial findings stemming from this project are encouraging and exciting. I look forward to building on this line of inquiry in a broader study of couples that are followed across the transition period after receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

I am also interested in understanding intimate relationship functioning in diverse cultural contexts. Using data gathered from young adult couples in Mainland China, I have authored papers exploring linkages between family dysfunction and intimate relationship success directly and indirectly through a variety of mediators, such as couple problem solving ability, negative couple interactions, and mental health. Understanding factors that determine relationship success cross-culturally enhances the science aimed at understanding intimate relationships by providing a more nuanced, contextually-informed perspective on healthy relationship functioning.

I am currently accepting hardworking graduate students interested in studying couples.

Selected Publications:

Johnson, M. D., & Chen, J. (in press). Blame it on the alcohol: The influence of alcohol
consumption during adolescence, the transition to adulthood, and young adulthood on
one-time sexual hookups. Journal of Sex Research.

Vennum, A., Johnson, M. D. (in press). The impact of premarital cyclicality on early marriage.
Family Relations.

Johnson, M. D., Anderson, J. R., Walker, A., Wilcox, A., Lewis, V. L., & Robbins, D. C. (in
press). Spousal protective buffering and type 2 diabetes outcomes. Health Psychology. doi: 10.1037/hea0000054

Anderson, J. R., Johnson, M. D., Liu, W., Zheng, F., Hardy, N. R., & Lindstrom, R. A. (in
press). Young adult romantic relationships in Mainland China: Perceptions of family of
origin functioning are directly and indirectly associated with relationship success.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407513508727

Johnson, M. D., Nguyen, L., Anderson, J. R., Liu, W., & Vennum, A. (in press). Pathways to
romantic relationship success among Chinese young adult couples: Contributions of
family dysfunction, mental health problems, and negative couple interaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407514522899

Johnson, M. D., Galambos, N. L., & Krahn, H. J. (2014). Depression and anger across 25
years: changing vulnerabilities in the VSA model.
Journal of Family Psychology, 28,
225-235. doi: 10.137/a0036087

Johnson, M. D., & Galambos, N. L. (2014). Paths to intimate relationship quality from parent-
adolescent relations and mental health.
Journal of Marriage and Family, 76, 145-160.
doi: 10.1111/jomf.12074

Johnson, M. D., Anderson, J. R., Walker, A., Wilcox, A., Lewis, V. L., & Robbins, D. C.
(2013). Common dyadic coping is indirectly related to dietary and exercise adherence
via patient and partner diabetes efficacy.
Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 722-730. doi: 10.1037/a0034006

Johnson, M. D., Anderson, J. R., Wilcox, A., Walker, A., Robbins, D. C., & Lewis, V. L.
(2013). Relationship Beliefs and Illness Appraisals are Differentially Associated with
Specific Ways of Coping in Spouses of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Psychology & Health, 28, 1442-1459. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2013.822499

Johnson, M. D. (2013). Parent-child relationship quality indirectly influences hooking up
behavior through alcohol use in adolescence and trajectories of alcohol use across
adolescence and young adulthood. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1463-1472. doi:

Johnson, M. D., & Anderson, J. R. (2013). The longitudinal association of marital confidence,
time spent together, and marital satisfaction. Family Process, 52, 244-256. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2012.01417.x