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Lynn M. Martire
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Lynn Martire’s research aims to identify the ways in which close relationships in adulthood affect health and chronic illness management, and the effects of chronic illness on close relationships. Dr. Martire teaches HDFS 418 and 546 (Family Relationships).

  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
  • Research
  • Family Development
  • Adulthood and Aging
  • Intervention and Prevention
  • Graduate Program
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  • Ph.D., 1997, Kent State University, Social Psychology
  • M.A., 1990, California State University, Psychology
  • B.A., 1988, California State University, Psychology
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Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Office Address
411 BBH Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Additional Websites

Center for Healthy Aging

  • chronic pain
  • marriage
  • family caregiving
  • couple-oriented interventions for chronic illness
Professional Experience

Professor of HDFS, 2015 to present
Associate Professor of HDFS, 2010 to 2015
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 2006 to 2010
Associate Director of Gerontology, University of Pittsburgh, 2000 to 2010
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 2000 to 2006

Grants and Research Projects

My research focuses on the effects of close relationships on health and well-being in midlife and older adulthood, as well as the effects of illness on adults’ close relationships. I use a range of research methods including in-person interviews, experiments in the lab, and experience sampling as couples go about their daily lives. In this work I often apply social cognitive models to better understand mechanisms linking relationships and health, and pain empathy models to better understand the effects of physical suffering on older adults’ closest family members. Findings from these studies are used to inform the development of dyadic (patient and close family member) interventions for chronic illness. This work has been supported by the National Institute on Aging; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute.

For much of my career I have been involved in developing and evaluating dyadic interventions for chronic illnesses such as arthritis, late-life depression, heart disease, and spinal cord injury. Together with my colleagues, I have conducted quantitative and qualitative reviews of randomized trials testing these programs. These reviews show that dyadic interventions have small but significant benefits for patients’ depressive symptoms, marital functioning, and pain; such interventions also improve family members’ depressive symptoms, anxiety, and caregiver burden.


  • Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation Award for Early Career Contributions in Behavioral and Social Gerontology, Gerontological Society of America, 2007
    Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology Award (Junior level), Division 38 of the American Psychological Association, 2006
  • Early Career Achievement Award in Research on Adult Development & Aging, Division 20 of the American Psychological Association, 2004
  • Junior Faculty Scholars Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh 1999-2001
  • Research Award at the Postdoctoral Level, Division 20 of the American Psychological Association & the Retirement Research Foundation, 1998
  • Dissertation Award, Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, 1997