Anxiety, Stress, & Relationships Lab

Department of Psychology

Student Walking on the Fairfax Campus


The Anxiety, Stress, & Relationships Lab is headed by Keith Renshaw, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology. The lab focuses on the interpersonal context of anxiety and response to stress and trauma. The primary emphasis is on understanding how PTSD affects and is affected by romantic relationships, with a particular emphasis on military couples. However, we have multiple ongoing research projects, such as understanding individual predictors of trauma response, couples' communication and perceptions of criticism, effects of anxiety on relationship processes, and risk factors for specific OC spectrum disorders.


Major Ongoing Projects

Family Members of Service Members with PTSD or Depression

The primary aims of this project are to: (1) identify the primary needs of relatives of high-risk service members (those with PTSD and/or severe depression), (2) identify potential mechanisms of distress and resilience in these relatives, and (3) examine transactional associations over time among service members' symptoms, relatives' distress, relationship processes, and potential mechanisms. Click here for more information.

Communication in Romantic Couples

The primary aim of this project was to better understand factors that contribute to perceptions of communication from a romantic partner as either hostile or non-hostile (constructive) in nature. The specific objectives were to: (1) characterize differences in the behaviors and cognitions that are associated with hostile and nonhostile communication, as defined by both objective ratings and subjective perceptions, and (2) identify individual and couple-level variables that can predict discrepancies between objective ratings and subjective perceptions of both hostile and nonhostile communication. Data collection for this project was completed last spring, and analyses are underway.

Relationships Among Military Personnel

The primary aim of this project is to better understand specific elements of relationships that are impacted by reactions to trauma, and how relationship processes interact with symptoms of PTSD, depression, substance use, and suicide risk factors over time. Data collection for this project is underway.




  • Keith Renshaw. Dr. Renshaw received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. He specializes in anxiety, depression, and interpersonal relationships. His research focuses on romantic relationships in which one individual has an anxiety disorder or trauma history, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of service members who have been deployed during the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their spouses/partners. His clinical expertise is in cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders and cognitive-behavioral couples’ therapy. Click for a copy of his CV.

Graduate Students

  • Sarah B. Campbell (entered 2010)
  • Hilary Weingarden (entered 2010)
  • Sarah P. Carter (entered 2012)
  • Jennifer DiMauro (entered 2012)
  • Lauren Paige (entered 2014)
  • Annie Ledoux (entered 2015)
  • Sarah Thomas (entered 2015)

Recent Graduates

  • Sarah Klein (graduated 2015) - currently Postdoctoral Fellow, Adult Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Division of Psychology
  • LTC Jeff Bergmann (graduated 2014) - currently Commander, 787th Military Police Battalion, Ft. Leonard Wood
  • Camila (Rodrigues) Williams (graduated Univ of Utah 2014) - currently Postdoctoral Fellow, PTSD Special Emphasis, Long Beach VAMC
  • Catherine (Caska) Wallace (graduated Univ of Utah 2013) - currently Psychologist, Intensive Outpatient Program, Women's Trauma Recovery Center, and Family Therapy Program, Seattle VAMC
  • Rebecca Blais (graduated Univ of Utah (2012) - currently Assistant Professor, Utah State University