Skip navigation

Center for Marital and Families Banner

Center for Marital and Family Studies


Listed below is the Center for Marital and Family Studies Team:

  • Howard Markman, Ph.D
    Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies


    Dr. Howard teaches undergraduate courses in marital and family interaction and therapy, and one of DU's core courses in the social sciences, on the psychology of love. At the graduate level he teach courses such as Couples Intervention, Advanced Issues in Marital Therapy, and Community Psychology. [Read More]

  • Scott Stanley, Ph.D.
    Research Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies


    Dr. Stanley has published widely with research interests including commitment, cohabitation, communication, conflict, risk factors for divorce, the prevention of marital distress, and couple development before marriage. Along with Dr. Howard Markman and colleagues, he has been involved in the research, development, and refinement of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) for over 30 years. [Read More]

  • Elizabeth Allen
    Assistant Professor


    Dr. Allen has been involved with the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) in both clinical and research capacities since 1991. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Colorado Denver, while still maintaining active collaboration with the Center. She is involved in a number of projects that are all designed to understand struggles and strengths of marriages, and how we can best support healthy marriage and family.

    For more information regarding Dr. Allen's research at the University of Colorado Denver, please visit Relationship Studies Lab - University of Colorado.

  • Galena Rhoades, Ph.D.
    Research Associate Professor


    Galena Rhoades, Ph.D., is a Research Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Denver. Her research is on romantic relationship development and functioning, and the related implications for children and adults. Her research projects and collaborations include 1) basic science studies on commitment, cohabitation, aggression, infidelity, family background, relationship processes and psychopathology, military families, and adolescent and child adjustment as well as 2) studies on the effectiveness of preventive relationship interventions for couples and individuals (including gene-environment interactions). [Read More]

  • Shauna Rienks, Ph.D.,
    Research Associate


    Shauna Rienks, Ph.D., is a Research Associate for the federally funded Fatherhood Relationship and Marriage Education (FRAME) project in the Psychology Department at the University of Denver. She is originally from Trinidad, CO and earned her Bachelor's degree in psychology from Princeton University. She taught English at a university in South Korea for 5 years before returning to Colorado to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked on the FRAME project since 2006 where she conducts research on a randomized, controlled trial of a psychoeducation program that teaches skills to improve couple relationships, help couples cope with financial stress, and enhance parenting. In addition to her interest in couple and family relationships as they impact development across the lifespan, her research interests include schools as a context for child and adolescent development, and self and social identity with an emphasis on gender, ethnicity, and culture.

  • Marcie Pregulman
    Project Coordinator


    Marcie has worked on multiple grants in the Center for Marital and Family Studies since 2006. Working mainly on the intervention side of the research, she has been able to use her PREP training to work with couples and individuals to help them with their relationship. In addition, Marcie is an internationally known PREP trainer and offers relationship help to individuals and couples over the phone.

  • Kayla Knopp
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Kayla is a Denver native, and graduated from the University of Colorado Denver in 2008. Until recently, her background has primarily been in cognitive neuroscience research, so she's excited to begin doctoral work in clinical and couples psychology in the fall of 2012 as part of the Center for Marital and Family Studies Lab at DU. Her primary research interests include understanding commitment in nontraditional relationships (such as LGBT, non-monogamous or polyamorous, companionate, and unmarried relationships); cognitive-based approaches to relationship research and therapy; the role of sex and intimacy in commitment; and comprehensive relationship and sex education for adolescents and teens.

  • Ben Loew
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Ben is from Wilmette, Illinois, and studied psychology and cognitive science at the University of Pennsylvania before entering DU's Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2008. He is currently the Graduate Research Assistant for the Center's Army Marriage Project. Ben's research interests are in couple-relationship development, and the dissemination of empirically-supported marriage/relationship education programs. His long-term career goals are to continue research efforts in these areas.

  • Laura Osborne
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Laura has been with the Center for Marital and Family Studies since 2011 and is a research assistant for the Family Stability Project and Army Marriage Project. Her research interests primarily focus on stress and coping within the military population, particularly among couples and families. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Colorado State University in May 2011.

  • Aleja Parsons
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Aleja is pursuing her PhD as a first year graduate student at the University of Denver. Her research interests include exploring how culturally unique experiences impact African American couples. Aleja is currently working on her Master's thesis which will focus on how negative marital attitudes impact dating decisions and relationship satisfaction. Originally from Atlanta, Aleja received her B.S. in psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 2010. Following her undergraduate graduation, Aleja spent a year volunteering in Senegal which inspired her future goals to apply a global perspective to the advancement of research on African American couples. 

  • Jocelyn Petrella
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Jocelyn received her B.A. degree in Psychology from Princeton University in 2002. She worked at the University of Michigan in a Developmental Psychology lab for two years before starting the Ph.D. program at the University of Denver. She is currently a second-year graduate student with an interest in how couples deal with conflict. More specifically, she is interested in how the division of household tasks and childcare can be a source of stress for couples. Her Master's Thesis is designed to explore the way in which a couple divides household labor and childcare responsibilities, as well as how this division of family work impacts marital satisfaction, over the course of marriage.At the Center for Marital and Family Studies, her main responsibilities include interviewing couples, interactional dimensions coding, and helping to manage the data sets.

  • Shelby Scott
    Clinical Graduate Student


    Shelby was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the University of Houston in 2009. She is now a second-year graduate student and research assistant in the Center for Marital and Family Studies Lab. She is currently working on her master's project that focuses on the effects of the transition to parenthood on unmarried couples and a pilot study that focuses on lesbian romantic relationships. She works on several other projects including the Divorce Study, which interviews divorced couples who have participated in premarital interventions with the hope to improve such programs, and the Relationship Development Study, which studies romantic relationships from participants around the nation. Her research interests include extending couples research to underrepresented populations, such as unmarried couples, the LGBT community, and low SES/minority families. In the future, Shelby also hopes to tailor relationship interventions for these specific populations. She is passionate about community engagement and disseminating research to the communities that need these services the most. In her free time, Shelby and her partner love spending time outside hiking, running, and playing soccer!