Relationships and Well-Being Lab

Dr. Emily A. Impett
Department of Psychology
University of Toronto
3359 Mississauga Road North
Mississauga, ON L5L1C6
Phone: 905.569.4632
Fax: 905.569.4326
Email: emily.impett@utoronto.ca

The research in the Relationships and Well-Being Lab (RAWLab) at the University of Toronto Mississauga is centrally focused on understanding when and for whom “giving” in the context of close relationships helps and when it hurts. In our close relationships, we are motivated to give to others, and we do so in a variety of ways. For example, parents make huge sacrifices for their children, and people go to great lengths to help a romantic partner in need. Sometimes, people engage in sexual activity when they are not “in the mood” in order to please their romantic partner. Some of these acts of giving are made at considerable cost to the self. What motivates people to give in the face of personal costs? When is giving rewarding and when might good intentions backfire and potentially detract from the quality of relationships? How do people regulate the strong emotions they might feel when they sacrifice for others? Do some people enjoy giving more than others? To answer these questions, we conduct three main lines of research that draw upon on theories of approach-avoidance motivation, emotion regulation and authenticity, and communal relationships. Our lab is highly committed to the use of rich, ecologically valid methods—including experience sampling, longitudinal, and dyadic methods—to understand how real-life giving and sacrifice shape people’s emotional experiences and the quality of their close relationships.

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