Richard Mattson


Associate Professor of Psychology



Ph.D., Binghamton University
Area: Clinical Psychology
Phone: 607-777-4251
Office: CV 58

Curriculum vitae (pdf, 111 kb)

Professional Activities:

I am a frequent reviewer for the Journal of Family Psychology, Personal Relationships, Psychological Assessment, and Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. I am also a licensed clinical psychologist and typically maintain a small caseload for psychotherapy, assessment, and forensic work.

Research Interests:

My longstanding research aims are to (1) improve the conceptualization and assessment of satisfaction in relationships and (2) explore the causes and consequences of functional versus dysfunctional relationship communication, including social support and intimate partner violence, respectively. My present focus is on how genetic, neuroendocrinological, and early environmental factors moderate the role of partner social support in buffering the negative impact of stress on health.

Research Description:

Relationship satisfaction is arguably the most important construct in relationship research. My particular focus in this area is on examining a two-dimensional conceptual model of this construct, which "has the potential to yield a richer picture of paths toward relationship distress" (Fincham & Rogge, 2010). The line of research also comprises an investigation of ambivalence towards one's relationship, as well as other evaluative judgments relevant to intimate relationships (e.g., sexual satisfaction, regrets over partner selection).

My research on dyadic interaction ranges from relatively benign forms of communication (e.g., social support) to more damaging ones (e.g., intimate partner violence; IPV). With respect to the latter, my foci are on (a) the interplay of IPV and problematic substance and alcohol use, (b) currently examining ways to improve the self-report validity of IPV measures, and (c) situational and attitudinal factors that influence perceptions of IPV and acquaintance rape.

Philosophy of Graduate Training:

Good training helps students think critically about what is learned. It instructs not only on what to think, per se, but how to think. Training should also provide opportunities for guided application; which, at the graduate level, I believe entails three critical ingredients: ecological validity, constructive feedback, and opportunities for mastery. First, I stress the ecological validity of training in that I require students to apply concepts and information to tasks that mirror those encountered in the profession of psychological and clinical science. Second, I provide explicit feedback on a student's performance at every stage of their training, tailoring it specifically to his or her developmental needs. Third, as feedback is only useful if students are provided with opportunities for additional practice, students are allowed to revise and resubmit their work and receive additional feedback in an iterative fashion. It is important to note that my emphasis on feedback and continual improvement extend to my own development as well. That is, I continually strive to increase my acumen in the art of instruction and mentorship by way of student feedback, continuing education, and personal growth.

Selected Publications:

Cunningham, K., German, N. M., & Mattson, R. E. (2014). Regretful Liaisons: Exploring the Role of Partner Regret in the Association Between Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, (ahead-of-print), 1-14.

Mattson, R. E., Rogge, R. D., Johnson, M. D., Davidson, E. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2013). The positive and negative semantic dimensions of relationship satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 20(2), 328-355.

Mattson, R. E., O'Farrell, T. J., Lofgreen, A. M., Cunningham, S. K., & Murphy, C. M. (2011). The role of illicit substance use in a conceptual model of intimate partner violence in men undergoing treatment for alcoholism. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26, 255-264.

Mattson, R. E., Frame, L. E., & Johnson, M. D. (2011). Premarital affect as a predictor of postnuptial marital satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 18, 532-546.

Last Updated: 3/20/15