Lauren M. PappAssociate Dean for Research | Jane Rafferty Thiele Professor in Human Ecology | Professor of Human Development & Family Studies

I have been a member of UW–Madison faculty since 2006. I teach in the Human Development & Family Studies department and lead a research team in the UW Couples Lab. I currently serve as associate dean for research in the School of Human Ecology and chair the University Committee. I recently completed a term on the NIH Psychosocial Development, Risk, and Prevention (PDRP) study section.

My broad program of research has focused on the role of intimate and family relationships in shaping development across the lifespan. My studies here have capitalized on methods for assessing romantic partners’ and family members’ experiences in daily life. As an example, my colleagues and I have conducted a series of studies on the occurrence of marital conflict in families’ homes and its implications for child, parent, and family functioning. We have also documented interdependence or close connection between romantic couples as well as family members along multiple domains, recently finding congruency in spouses’ negative affect during conflict (more so for anger and hostility than for sadness and fear), and demonstrating reliable covariation in family members’ cortisol levels across the day.

I am fortunate to study other aspects of human development that are closely tied to my work on relationships and highly compelling to me, primarily for their relevance to health and well-being and potential to inform pressing societal issues. These lines of investigation have addressed breastfeeding and psychosocial outcomes, mental health symptoms, and prescription drug misuse. In addition, I collaborate with Sigan Hartley to improve understanding of marital and family outcomes in autism spectrum disorders.

My teaching interests are intimate relationships; family stress and coping; and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in lab-based research experiences.

Selected Publications

Papp, L. M., Drastal, K. M., Lorang, E. K., & Hartley, S. L. (2020). Mother-father physiological synchrony during conflict and moderation by parenting challenges: Findings from parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Families, Systems, & Health. 38(4), 476–481.

Papp, L. M., Kouros, C. D., & Curtin, J. J. (2020). Real-time associations between young adults’ momentary pain and prescription opioid misuse intentions in daily life. American Psychologist, 75(6), 761-771.

Weaver, J. M., Schofield, T., & Papp, L. M. (2018). Breastfeeding duration predicts greater maternal sensitivity over the next decade. Developmental Psychology, 54(2), 220-227

Blumenstock, S. M., & Papp, L. M. (2017). Sexual distress and marital quality of newlyweds: An investigation of sociodemographic moderators. Family Relations, 66(5), 794-808.

Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke-Morey, M. C. (2009). For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58(1), 91-103.

For a full list of publications, see Papp’s CV.

A white woman smiling, with dark blond, wavy hair, wearing a black shirt and white pearl necklace.


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development & Family Studies


  • PhD, Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • Clinical psychology internship, Northwestern University
  • MA, Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • BS, Psychology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Office: 4136 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-262-8611