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Linda K. Acitelli, Ph.D.

Linda K Acitelli, PhD

Professor Emeritus
Social Psychology
Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., Educational Psychology, University of Michigan
M.A., Psychology, University of Michigan
B.A., Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan

Heyne Building, Room 103B

Biographical Summary

Joined the University of Houston faculty in 1995 after working as a research investigator at the Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1991, with help from the Survey Research Center at ISR, she designed a project which involved collecting data from one of the first area probability samples of couples. Her major research interests are cognition and communication in relationships, specifically thinking and talking about relationships and the factors that determine their impact on individual and relationship well being. She intends to expand her research by investigating relationship dynamics within different contexts and ethnic groups. Recently, she has begun to examine the interpersonal challenge of being in a close relationship in which one partner has a chronic illness.

Research Interests

  • Cognition and communication in and about close relationships
  • Interpersonal perception in relationships
  • Self and relationships
  • The link between social support and marital satisfaction
  • Gender differences in cognition, behavior, and affect in close relationships
  • Couples and Chronic Illness


  • Graduate Seminar in Social Cognition
  • Graduate Seminar in Theory and Research in Personal Relationships
  • Undergraduate Course in Personality Theory

Selected Publications

Iafrate, R., Bertoni, A., Margola,D., Cigoli,V., Acitelli, L.K. (2012). The link between perceptual congruence and couple relationship satisfaction in the context of dyadic coping, European Psychologist, 17, 73-82.

Cambron, M.J. & Acitelli, L.K. (2010). Examining the link between friendship contingent self-esteem and the self-propagating cycle of depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29, 701-726.

Cambron, M.J., Acitelli, L.K., & Steinberg, L. (2010). When friends make you blue: The role of friendship contingent self-esteem in predicting self-esteem and depressive symptoms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 384-397.

Cambron, M.J., Acitelli, L. K., & Pettit, J. W. (2009). Explaining gender differences in depression: An interpersonal contingent self-esteem perspective.  Sex Roles, 6, 751-761.

Acitelli, L. K. (2008). Knowing when to shut up: Do relationship reflections help or hinder relationship satisfaction? In J. Forgas and J. Fitness (Eds.) Social Relationships: Cognitive, Affective and Motivational Processes (pp. 115- 134). New York: Psychology Press.

Badr, H. & Acitelli, L.K. (2008). Attachment insecurity and perceptions of housework: Associations with marital well-being. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 313-319.

Badr, H., Acitelli, L. K., & Carmack, C. L., (2007) Does couple identity mediate the stress experienced by caregiving spouses? Psychology and Health, 22, 211-229.

Matthews, R. A., Del Priore, R. E., Acitelli, L. K., & Barnes-Farrell (2006). Work-to-relationship conflict: Crossover effects in dual-earner couples. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 11, 228-240.

Badr, H., & Acitelli, L. K. (2005). Dyadic adjustment and chronic illness: Does relationship talk matter? Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 465-469.

Acitelli, L. K. & Badr, H. (2005). My illness or our illness? Attending to the relationship when one partner is ill. In Revenson, T. A., Kayser, K., & Bodenmann, G. Emerging perspectives on couples' coping with stress. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Acitelli, L.K. (2002). Relationship awareness: Crossing the bridge between cognition and communication. Communication Theory, 12 (1).

Acitelli, L.K., Kenny, D.A., and Weiner, D. (2001). The importance of similarity and understanding of relationship partners' beliefs about the ideal marriage. Personal Relationships, 8, 167-185.

Kenny, D.A, & Acitelli, L.K. (2001). Accuracy and bias in perceptions of the partner in close relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 439-448.

Acitelli, L.K. (1997). Sampling couples to understand them: Mixing the theoretical with the practical. Invited paper for Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14: 243-261.

Acitelli, L.K & Young, A.M. (1996). Gender and thought in relationships. In G. Fletcher and J. Fitness, Knowledge Structures and Interactions in Close Relationships: A Social Psychological Approach. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Acitelli, L.K. & Antonucci, T.C. (1994). Gender differences in the link between marital support and satisfaction in older couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(4), 688-698.