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headshot of Matthew D. Johnson

Matthew D. Johnson

Professor and Director of Clinical Training



Professor Johnson will be reviewing applications for students entering the graduate program in the Fall of 2023.

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:

Mattson, R. E., Cameron, N., Middleton, F. A., Starr, L. R., Davila, J., & Johnson, M. D. (2017). Oxytocin receptor gene links to marital quality via social support behavior and perceived partner responsiveness. Journal of Family Psychology.doi:10.1037/fam0000474

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


  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012-2013)
  • APA Executive Branch Science Fellow & AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (2015-2016)
    Placement included duties with the following U.S. agencies and committees:
    - National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
    - Social and Behavioral Sciences Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology
    Council's Committee on Science, Executive Office of the President
    - White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault
    - Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma
    - Interagency Committee on Violence Against Women, Office of the Vice President
    - Fellows in Innovation, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the
    - United State of Women Interagency Working Group, Executive Office of the President
  • Fellow status, Association for Psychological Science (2018)

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae