University of ArizonaNorton School of Family and Consumer Sciences


Melissa Curran, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Family Studies and Human Development
650 N Park Ave
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0078
(520) 621-7140

I am from the suburbs of Chicago, IL. I was an undergraduate student at Ball State University, a Master's student at Illinois State University, and a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin. I also was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin.

I have been a faculty member at the University of Arizona since 2006.

I live in Tucson with my husband. My husband and I dated (mostly long distance) for seven years and have been married for 12 years. We also love pugs and adopted a pug named Sweet Pea.

When my husband and I go on vacation, it is often with my parents, who are a lot of fun and
love the beaches in FL (especially New Smyrna Beach).
 

Areas of expertise: 
  • Interpersonal and family relations
  • Romantic relationships and health
  • Relational sacrifices and relationship quality
  • Experiences of cancer within the family system  
  • Marital representations and adult attachment
  • Transition to parenthood
Research Focus: 

Much of my research has been guided by theory, including attachment, interdependence, symbolic interactionism, family systems, and commitment.

Initially, my focus was specific to attachment representations and marital quality during the transition to parenthood for new parents. Next, my focus expanded to include interpersonal topics including relational sacrifices and commitment, as well as the study of cohabitors.

I bridged these aforementioned areas of study with a focus on examining the transition to parenthood for pregnant, unmarried, cohabitors. I also continue to study relational sacrifices and relationship quality (e.g., commitment, satisfaction), as well as beliefs about relationships and marriage. Finally, I also collaborate with colleagues on studies specific to cancer (i.e., experiences of "co-survivors," and health experiences for women diagnosed with breast cancer as predicted from relationship characteristics).

Current Projects: 

I have several current projects including:

(1) How relational sacrifices (e.g., frequency, ease, awareness) impact relationship quality (e.g., satisfaction, commitment) overall and daily. Collaborations here are with current and former graduate students Casey Totenhagen, Shannon Corkery, Val Young, Tricia Burke, Erin Ruppel, Jose-Michael Gonzalez, Hilary Gamble, Bü┼čra Akçabozan, and Caroline Chavez.

(2) Beliefs about relationships and marriage generally, as well as data specific to young adults, African Americans, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ. Collaborations here are with current graduate student, Joel Muraco, and Dr. Stephen Russell at UA, as well as with Drs. Utley and Campbell (colleagues in CA).

(3) The experience of cancer, in terms of how family members and friends of those who have cancer can be considered "co-survivors", as well as how aspects of romantic relationships (e.g., partner as primary confidant, affection) predict health for women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Collaborations here are with Drs. Marshall and Weihs at UA.

(3a) Led by Dr. Marshall, we are starting a new initiative called Family-focused research, education and development (FRED) with colleagues at UA, Denver, and in Finland and Scotland.

(4) Young adults' finances explained by influences such as romantic partners and parents. Collaboration here is with Dr. Serido at UA.

(5) The transition to parenthood for couples (marrieds; pregnant cohabitors), including the role of attachment and marital representations. Collaboration here is with Dr. Nancy Hazen at UT-Austin.

Subjects Taught: 
  • FSHD 487: Advanced Family Relations (or Interpesonal and Family Theories) (undergraduate)
  • FSHD 237: Close Relationships (undergraduate)
  • FSHD 546: Foundations of Family and Interpersonal Theory (graduate)
     
Select Publications: 


See CV (pdf) near the top of this page.



Tel: Main Office 520.621.1075 Norton School Student Services 520.621.1295
Mailing Address: 650 N. Park Ave Tucson, Arizona 85721-0078 (Map to McClelland Park)
Site Map  Email: sfcs@cals.arizona.edu  

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