Jim McNulty


Recruiting a graduate student for Fall of 2024

Jim McNulty

Contact Information



University of Florida, 2001

Research Interests

My program of research focuses on how strong beliefs may change or remain stable over time. For the most part, I have addressed this issue in the context of close relationships, where initially positive beliefs frequently become negative, despite partners' strong motives to maintain them. This transformation raises the possibility that there may be limits to social psychological theories that suggest people possess effective techniques for maintaining their desired beliefs. My long-term research goals are to understand and define these limits and, in doing so, to suggest directions for promoting the resilience of initially satisfying beliefs about close relationships.

Current Research

Longitudinal research on newlywed couples to determine the impact of various cognitive, behavioral, and personality variables on changes in marital satisfaction over time. Issues I am currently investigating include, expectations, forgiveness, cognitive structure, physical attractiveness, psychological and physical abuse, and sexual satisfaction.

Lab Description

Longitudinal research on newlywed couples to determine the impact of various cognitive, behavioral, and personality variables on changes in marital satisfaction over time. Issues I am currently investigating include, expectations, forgiveness, cognitive structure, physical attractiveness, psychological and physical abuse, and sexual satisfaction.

Overall, N. C. & McNulty, J. K. (in press). What type of communication during conflict is beneficial for intimate relationships? Current Opinion in Psychology.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. & Maner, J. K. (in press). Women like being valued for sex, as long as it is by a committed partner. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

*Baker, L. R., Cobb, R. A., McNulty, J. K., Lambert, N. M., & Fincham, F. D. (in press). Remaining in a situationally-aggressive relationship: The role of relationship self-efficacy, Personal Relationships.

Shorey, R. C., Moore, T. L., McNulty, J. K., & Stuart, G. L. (in press). Do alcohol and marijuana increase the risk for female dating violence victimization? A prospective daily diary investigation. Psychology of Violence.

*Maranges, H., & McNulty, J. K. (in press). The rested relationship: Sleep benefits marital evaluations. Journal of Family Psychology.

McNulty, J. K. (2016). Highlighting the contextual nature of interpersonal relationships. In J. M. Olson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.) Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 54 (pp.  247-315). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

McNulty, J. K. (2016). Should spouses be demanding less from marriage? A contextual perspective on the implications of interpersonal standards. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 444-457.

McNulty, J. K., & *Russell V. M. (2016). Forgive and forget, or forgive and regret? Whether forgiveness leads to more or less offending depends on offender agreeableness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 616-631.

McNulty, J. K., *Wenner, C. A., & Fisher, T. D. (2016). Longitudinal associations among relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, and frequency of sex in early marriage. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 85-97.

*Hicks, L. L., McNulty, J. K., Meltzer, A. L., & Olson, M. A. (2016). Capturing the interpersonal implications of evolved preferences? Sex shapes implicit, but not explicit, partner evaluations. Psychological Science, 27, 836-847.

Overall, N. C., Hammond, M. T., McNulty, J. K., & Finkel, E. J. (2016).When power shapes interpersonal behavior: Low relationship power predicts men’s aggressive responses to low situational power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology111, 195-217.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2016). Who is having more and better sex? The big five as predictors of daily sex during marriage. Journal of Research in Personality, 62, 62-66.

Shorey, R. C., McNulty, J. K., Moore, T. M., & Stuart, G. L. (2016). Being the victim of violence during a date predicts next-day cannabis use among female college students. Addiction, 111, 492-498.

Muise, A., Kim, J. J., McNulty, J. K. & Impett, E. A. (2016). The positive implications of sex for relationships. To appear in C. Knee & H. Reis (Eds.), Advances in Personal Relationships, Vol. 1: Positive approaches to optimal relationship development (pp, 124-147). Cambridge University Press. 

McNulty, J. K., & Olson, M. A. (2015). Integrating automatic processes into theories of relationships. Current Opinion in Psychology, 1, 107-112.

*Baker, L. R., & McNulty, J. K. (2015). Adding insult to injury: Partner depression moderates the association between partner-regulation attempts and partners’ motivation to resolve interpersonal problems. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 839-852.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Miller, S. L., & Baker, L. R. (2015). A psychophysiological mechanism underlying women’s weight goals: Women desire and strive for greater weight loss near peak fertility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 930-942.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2015). Telling women that men desire women with bodies larger than the thin-ideal improves women’s body satisfaction. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 391-398.

Shorey, R. C., McNulty, J. K., Moore, T. M., Strauss, C. & Stuart, G. L.(2015). Emotion regulation moderates the proximal association between negative affect and intimate partner violence. Prevention Science, 16, 873-880.

McNulty, J. K., Baker, L. R. & Olson, M. A. (2014). Implicit self-evaluations predict changes in implicit partner evaluations. Psychological Science, 25, 1649-1647.

McNulty, J. K. & *Widman, L. (2014). Sexual narcissism and infidelity in early marriage. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43, 1315-1325.

*Russell, V. M., & McNulty, J. K., *Baker, L. R., & Meltzer, A. L. (2014). The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives' marital satisfaction depends on husbands’ facial attractiveness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111, 17081-17086.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Jackson, G., & Karney, B. R. (2014). Sex differences in the implications of partner physical attractiveness for the trajectory of marital satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 418-428.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Jackson, G., & Karney, B. R. (2014). Men still value physical attractiveness in a long-term mate more than women. Rejoinder to Eastwick, Neff, Finkel, Luchies, and Hunt (2014). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 435-440.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2014). “Tell me I’m sexy…and otherwise valuable:” Body valuation and relationship satisfaction. Personal Relationships, 21, 68-87.

Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., Moore, T. M., & McNulty, J. K. (2014). The temporal relationship between alcohol, marijuana, angry affect, and dating violence perpetration: A daily diary study with female college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 516-523.

Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., McNulty, J. K., & Moore, T. M. (2014). Acute alcohol use temporally increases the odds of male perpetrated dating violence: A 90-day diary analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 39, 365-368.

Moore, T. M., *Seavey, A., *Ritter, K., McNulty, J. K., Gordon, K. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2014). Ecological momentary assessment of the effects of craving and affect on risk for relapse during substance abuse treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors28, 619-624.

*Baker, L. R., McNulty, J. K., & Overall, N., C. (2014). When negative emotions benefit relationships. In G. S. Parrot (Ed.).The Positive Side of Negative Emotions (pp. 101-125). New York: Guilford.

McNulty, J. K., Olson, M. A., Meltzer, A. L., & *Shaffer, M. J. (2013). Though they may be unaware, newlyweds implicitly know whether their marriage will be satisfying. Science, 342, 1119-1120.

McNulty, J. K., & *Widman, L. (2013). The implications of sexual narcissism for sexual and marital satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1021-1032.

McNulty, J. K. (2013). Personality and relationships. In J. A. Simpson & L. Campbell (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Close Relationships. (pp. 535-552). New York: Oxford University Press.

*Baker, L. R. & McNulty, J. K. (2013). When low self-esteem encourages behaviors that risk rejection to increase interdependence: The role of relational self-construal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 995-1018.

Meltzer, A. L., Novak, S. A., McNulty, J. K., Butler, E. A., & Karney, B. R. (2013). Brief Report: Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage. Health Psychology, 32, 824-827.

*Baker, L. R., McNulty, J. K., Overall, N., C., Lambert, N., M., & Fincham, F. D. (2013). How do relationship maintenance behaviors affect individual well-being? A contextual perspective. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 282-289.

*Russell, V. M. *Baker, L. R., & McNulty, J. K. (2013). Attachment insecurity and infidelity in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 242-251.

Maner, J. K., & McNulty, J. K. (2013). Attunement to the fertility status of same-sex rivals: Women’s testosterone responses to olfactory ovulation cues. Evolution and Human Behavior, 34, 412-418.

*Elkins, S. R., Moore, T. M., McNulty, J. K., *Kivisto, A. J., & *Handsel, V. A. (2013). Electronic diary assessment of the temporal association between proximal anger and intimate partner violence perpetration. Psychology of Violence, 3, 100-113.

McNulty, J. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). Beyond positive psychology? Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being. American Psychologist, 67, 101-110.

McNulty, J. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2012). The pitfalls of valenced labels and the benefits of properly calibrated psychological flexibility. American Psychologist, 67, 576-577.

Finkel, E. J., DeWall, C. N., Slotter, E. B., McNulty, J. K., Pond, R. S., Jr., & Atkins, D. C. (2012). Using I3 theory to clarify when dispositional aggressiveness predicts intimate partner violence perpetration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology102, 533-549.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2012). Social support and weight maintenance in marriage: T he interactive effects of support seeking, support provision, and gender. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 678-687.

Miller, S. L., Maner, J. K., & McNulty, J. K. (2012). Adaptive attunement to the sex of individuals at a competition: The ratio of opposite- to same-sex individuals correlates with changes in competitors’ testosterone levels. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 57-63.

*Armento, M. E. A., McNulty, J. K., & Hopko, D. R. (2012). Behavioral activation of religious behaviors (BARB): Randomized trial with depressed college students. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 4, 206-222.

McNulty, J. K. (2011). The dark side of forgiveness: The tendency to forgive predicts continued psychological and physical aggression in marriage. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 770-783.

*Baker, L. & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Self-compassion and relationship maintenance: The moderating roles of conscientiousness and gender. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 853-873.

*O’Mara, E. M., McNulty, J. K., & Karney B. R. (2011). Positively biased appraisals in everyday life: When do they benefit mental health and when do they harm it? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 415-432.

*Russell, V. M., & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Frequent sex protects intimates from the negative implications of their neuroticism. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 220-227.

Meltzer, A. L., McNulty, J. K., Novak, S., Butler, E., & Karney, B. R. (2011). Marriages are more satisfying when wives are thinner than their husbands. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 416-424.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Contrast effects of stereotypes: “Nurturing” male professors are evaluated more positively than “nurturing” female professors. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 19, 57-64.

Hopko, D. R., *Armento, M. E. A., *Robertson, S. M. C., *Ryba, M., *Carvalho, J. P., *Colman, L. K.,  *Mullane, C.,*Gawrysiak, M., Bell, J. L., McNulty, J. K., & Lejuez, C. W. (2011). Behavior activation and problem-solving therapy for depressed breast cancer patients: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 834-849.

*Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Narcissism and sexuality. In W. K. Campbell and J. Miller (Eds.). The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Theoretical Approaches, Empirical Findings, and Treatment. (pp. 351-359). Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Moore, T. M., *Elkins, S. R., McNulty, J. K., *Kivisto, A. J., & *Handsel, V. A. (2011). Alcohol use and intimate partner violence perpetration: Assessing the temporal association using electronic diary technology. Psychology of Violence, 1, 315-328.

*Carvalho, J., *Gawrysiak, M., *Hellmuth, J., McNulty, J. K., Magidson, J., Lejuez, C. W., & Hopko, D. R. (2011). The reward probability index (RPI): Design and validation of a scale measuring access to environmental reward. Behavior Therapy, 42, 249-262.

*Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Sexual narcissism scale. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd Ed.). New York: Rutledge.

*Wenner, C., *Russell, V. M.,  & McNulty, J. K. (2011). Attitudes toward unconventional sex scale. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber, & S. L. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd Ed.). New York: Rutledge.

McNulty, J. K., & *Russell, V. M. (2010). When “negative” behaviors are positive: A contextual analysis of the long-term effects of problem-solving behaviors on changes in relationship satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 587-604.

McNulty, J. K. (2010). When positive processes hurt relationships. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 167-171.

McNulty, J. K. (2010). Forgiveness increases the likelihood of subsequent partner transgressions in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 787-790.

Luchies, L. B., Finkel, E. J., McNulty, J. K., & Kumashiro, M. (2010). The doormat effect: When forgiving erodes self-respect and self-concept clarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98, 734-749.                                                 

*Baker, L. & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Shyness and marriage: Does shyness shape even established relationships? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 665-676.

*Little, K. C., McNulty, J. K., & *Russell, V. M. (2010). Sex buffers intimates against the negative implications of attachment insecurity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 484-498.

Meltzer, A. L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Body image and marital satisfaction: Evidence for the mediating role of sexual frequency and sexual satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 156-164.

*Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Sexual narcissism and the perpetration of sexual aggression. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 926-939.

McNulty, J. K., *O’Mara, E. M., & Karney B. R. (2008). Benevolent cognitions as a strategy of relationship maintenance: “Don’t sweat the small stuff”…but it is not all small stuff. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 631-646.

McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism and interpersonal negativity: The independent contributions of behavior and perceptions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1439-1450.

McNulty, J. K., & Fisher, T. D. (2008). Gender differences in response to sexual expectancies and changes in sexual frequency: A short-term longitudinal investigation of sexual satisfaction in newly married heterosexual couplesArchives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 229-240.

McNulty, J. K. (2008). Forgiveness in marriage: Putting the benefits into context Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 171-175.    

McNulty, J. K., Neff, L. A., & Karney, B. R. (2008). Beyond initial attraction: Physical attractiveness in newlywed marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 135-143.

McNulty, J. K., & *Hellmuth, J. C. (2008). Emotion regulation and intimate partner violence in newlyweds. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 794-797.

*Hellmuth, J. C., & McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism, marital violence, and the moderating role of stress and behavioral skills. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 166-180.

Fisher, T. D., & McNulty, J. K. (2008). Neuroticism and marital satisfaction: The mediating role played by the sexual relationship. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 112-122.

Frye, N. E., McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2008). How do constraints on leaving a marriage affect behavior within the marriage? Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 153-161.

Moore, T. M., Stuart, G. L., McNulty, J. K., Addis, M. E., Cordova, J. V., & Temple, J. R. (2008). Domains of masculine gender role stress and intimate partner violence in a clinical sample of violent men. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 9, 82-89.

*Haugen, P. T., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K. (2008). Empathic accuracy and adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 709-727.

*Widman, L., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K., & *Little, K. C. (2006). Sexual communication and contraceptive use in adolescent dating couples. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 893-899.

Severy, L., Jacobs, J., Klein, C.T., & McNulty, J. (2006). Acceptability of a home monitor used to aid in conception: Psychosocial factors and couple dynamics. Contraception, 73, 65-71.

McNulty, J. K. & Karney, B. R. (2004). Positive expectations in the early years of marriage: Should couples expect the best or brace for the worst? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 729-743.

McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2002). Expectancy confirmation in appraisals of marital interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 764-775.

Shepperd, J. A., & McNulty, J. K. (2002). The affective consequences of expected and unexpected outcomes. Psychological Science, 13, 85-88.

Severy, L., Klein, C. T., & McNulty, J. (2002). Acceptability of personal home monitoring for contraception: Longitudinal and contextual factors. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 87-96.

McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2001). Attributions in marriage: Integrating specific and global evaluations of a relationship. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 943-955.

Karney, B. R., McNulty, J. K., & Bradbury, T. N.  (2001). Cognition and the development of close relationships. In G. J. Fletcher (Ed.), Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 32-59). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Inc.

Karney, B. R., McNulty, J. K., & Frye, N. E. (2001).  A social-cognitive perspective on the maintenance and deterioration of relationship satisfaction. In Harvey, J. H. & Wenzel, A. E. (Eds.), Close Romantic Relationships (pp. 195-214). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


(* = Current or past graduate student)

Undergraduate Research

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Ruddy Faure
Postdoctoral Fellow