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headshot of Matthew D. Johnson

Matthew D. Johnson

Professor and Director of Clinical Training



Matt Johnson investigates the developmental course of marital distress and dissolution from a scientific perspective. To better understand the antecedents of marital discord, he examines the behaviors, cognitions and emotions of couples. His research includes determining whether the current body of empirical literature about the predictors of relationship discord applies to low-income couples and people of color. Extensions of his research include outcome research on programs designed to prevent marital distress and dissolution, the genetic and hormonal influence on marital behavior, and the assessment, prevention and treatment of intimate partner violence. Finally, he is interested in how psychological science can inform public policy.

Sample Publications

Alexander, E. F., & Johnson, M. D. (2023). On categorizing intimate partner violence: A systematic review of exploratory clustering and classification studies. Journal of Family Psychology, 37(5), 743-752. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam000...;

Johnson, M.D. (2016). Great myths of intimate relationships: Dating, sex, and marriage. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Williamson, H. C., Rogge, R. D., Cobb, R. J., Johnson, M. D., Lawrence, E., & Bradbury, T. N. (2015). Risk moderates the outcome of relationship education: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 617-629. doi: 10.1037/a0038621

Johnson, M. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (2015). Contributions of social learning theory to the promotion of healthy relationships: Asset or liability? Journal of Family Theory & Review, 7, 13-27. doi: 10.1111/jftr.12057

McShall, J. R., & Johnson, M. D. (2015). The association between relationship distress and psychopathology is consistent across racial and ethnic groups. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 226-231. doi: 10.1037/a0038267

Johnson, M. D. (2013). Optimistic or quixotic? More data on marriage and relationship education programs for lower income couples. American Psychologist, 68, 111-112. doi: 10.1037/a0031793


  • PhD, MA, University of California at Los Angeles
  • BA, University of Denver

Research Interests

  • Changes in marriages and family functioning
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Psychological science impacting public policy

Clinical Interests

  • Private practice
  • Clinical supervisor

Teaching Interests

  • Intimate relationships
  • Research methods in psychology
  • Statistics and research design


  • Board Certified in Couple and Family Psychology, American Board of Professional Psychology
  • Fellow status, American Psychological Association
  • Fellow status, Association for Psychological Science
  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching