Rena Repetti


Research Professor
Primary Area: Clinical Psychology
Secondary Area: Health Psychology
Address: 1229 FH
Phone: (310) 206-9290

Research and Teaching Interests:

I observe families in their everyday environments and study spontaneous social, psychological, and biological processes in real time in order to investigate how daily stressors and emotion shape family life and influence the health of parents and children.

Families are permeable to influences from the outside world; one line of my work examines the impact of daily stressors, not only how individuals respond to them but also how family members contribute to those responses. After a stressful day at work or school, spouses, parents, and children help to regulate each other’s behavior, emotion and physiology.

Knowing how family members connect with each other and with life outside of the home is critical to understanding their health and development. When even small amounts of variance are explained in particular situations the underlying process can account for important long-term outcomes if the situations recur and the effects cumulate. A second line of work therefore investigates how day-to-day fluctuations in stressors and in a family’s daily emotional and social dynamics ultimately impact the mental and physical health of both children and adults.

My research uses intensive repeated measures and direct observations in natural settings to study sequences that occur over relatively brief spans of time – minutes, hours, days, or weeks. By embedding those designs within longitudinal studies, I’m able to test how processes that unfold on a short-term basis predict health outcomes a year or more later. My students and I have used a video archive collected by the UCLA Sloan Center for the Everyday Lives of Families to observe families going about their daily lives both inside and outside of the home. Searching, processing and analyzing information stored in hundreds of hours of continuous recordings has provided new insights into human behavior.

Representative Publications:

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