Current Research

The Self & Relationships Lab

East Tennessee State University


Below are highlights of some of the current research projects that members of the Self & Relationships Lab are conducting.

Self-Compassion, Depression, and Trauma

Jessica Williamson, M.S.

Jessica’s preliminary project for the PhD program in Experimental Psychology consisted of meta-analyses examining the strength of the relationship between self-reported depressive symptoms and trait self-compassion and mindfulness. Her dissertation is focused on how engaging in brief self-compassion exercises 1-2 times 

Romantic Relationships and Self-Control

Lyndsay Nelson, M.S.

For her preliminary project, Lyndsay conducted an extensive review of literature examining how relationships with others can boost and hinder self-control. Lyndsay’s dissertation research will look more specifically at romantic relationships and self-control, examining how jealousy related to a romantic partner affects self-control depletion.

Trait Self-Control and Self-Control Depletion

Xiang “Dennis” Liu, B.S.

A recent study published by Imhoff et al. (2013) showed that people higher in trait self-control exhibited greater self-control depletion when faced with resisting temptation. Research conducted in our own lab and by our collaborators shows, however, that trait self-control results in less self-control depletion when overriding dominant behaviors. Although the type of self-control behavior assessed and the way in which

trait self-control is assessed may explain the inconsistent findings, other factors may also explain these inconsistencies. In his Master’s thesis, Dennis is examining other potential factors that may further elucidate the relationship between trait self-control and self-control depletion.

per week influence depression, anxiety, and stress in college students over the course of a 4-week period. Jessica is also examining how self-compassion and self-forgiveness are related to rumination and perceived coping in individuals who have experienced trauma.

Self-Affirmation and Weight Gain

Lyndsay Nelson, M.S.

Lyndsay is also conducting research examining how self-affirmation affects weight gain in first-semester college freshman.