Lynn M. Martire 

photo of Lynn Martire

Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

411 BBH Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-863-9423

Research Interests

My research focuses on family relationships and chronic illness, examining the effects of social exchanges with an adult child or spouse on older patients’ health and well-being as well as the effects of patient health on the family member. In this work I often use social cognitive models to ask questions about mechanisms linking social support to health. I am especially interested in the extent to which close family members may either bolster or undermine patients’ self-efficacy for managing symptoms and engaging in healthy behaviors.

I also am interested in whether dyadic psychosocial interventions for chronic illness offer greater benefits for patients and partners than psychosocial interventions that are focused solely on the patient. The literature testing such interventions through randomized, controlled trials is relatively small but receiving increased attention. Several years ago, I developed and tested a couple-oriented intervention for arthritis patients and their spouses, in collaboration with Frank Keefe (Duke University) and Richard Schulz (University of Pittsburgh). Findings from our current daily diary study, regarding spousal behaviors associated with patient daily functioning, will be used to enhance that intervention.

Daily Assessment in Arthritis Study

This daily diary study of older adults with knee osteoarthritis and their spouses is being conducted with Mary Ann Parris Stephens (Kent State University), Frank Keefe, and Richard Schulz. This study focuses on spouses’ daily behaviors with regard to patient pain, mood, and physical activity (e.g., empathic responses, autonomy support, and solicitousness). Our overall goal is to examine the effects of daily positive and negative spousal behaviors on patient functioning and whether daily illness cognitions (i.e., self-efficacy, catastrophizing) explain these effects. Patients and spouses are being assessed three times per day using electronic diaries while also wearing accelerometers to measure daytime physical activity. We will also explore the impact of gender on dyadic processes by addressing questions such as whether negative spousal behaviors have stronger effects on female patients than male patients.

Relationships in Late-Life Mood Disorder Project (RELATE)

A second line of research focuses on adult children and spouses of older adults who are receiving treatment for major depression, conducted with Charles Reynolds, Richard Schulz, and other colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. This line of work has shown that older patients have a poorer early response to antidepressant treatment when their family caregiver is more burdened by patients’ depressive symptoms and behaviors. In addition, we have found that successful treatment of late-life depression alleviates family caregiver burden. Our future work in this area will focus on spousal behaviors that may stem from caregiver burden and affect patient functioning (mood, adherence) on a daily level.


  • Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation Award for Early Career Contributions in Behavioral and Social Gerontology, Gerontological Society of America, 2007
  • Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology Award (Junior level), Division 38 of the American Psychological Association, 2006
  • Early Career Achievement Award in Research on Adult Development & Aging, Division 20 of the American Psychological Association, 2004
  • Junior Faculty Scholars Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh 1999-2001
  • Research Award at the Postdoctoral Level, Division 20 of the American Psychological Association & the Retirement Research Foundation, 1998
  • Dissertation Award, Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, 1997


M.A., 1990, California State University, Psychology
Ph.D., 1997, Kent State University, Social Psychology
B.A., 1988, California State University, Psychology

Professional Experience

  • 2010 - Present:  Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2006 - 2010: Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • 1999 – 2006: Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • 1999 - 2010: Associate Director of Gerontology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1997 – 1999: Postdoctoral Fellow (T32 MH19986), Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Selected Publications

Martire, L.M., Schulz, R., Helgeson, V. H., Small, B. J., & Saghafi, E.M.  (2010).  Review and meta-analysis of couple-oriented interventions for chronic illness.  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40, 325-342.

Martire, L. M., Schulz, R., Reynolds III, C. F., Karp, J. F., Gildengers, A. G., & Whyte, E. M. (2010). Treatment of late-life depression alleviates caregiver burden. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58, 23-29.

Monin, J. K., Schulz, R., Martire, L. M., Jennings, J. R., Lingler, J. H., & Greenberg, M. S. (2010). Spouses' cardiovascular reactivity to their partners' suffering.  Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 65B, 195-201.

Martire, L.M., Schulz, R., Keefe, F.J., Rudy, T.E., & Starz, T.W. (2008). Couple-oriented education and support intervention for osteoarthritis: Effects on spouses’ support and responses to patient pain. Families, Systems & Health, 26, 185-195.

Martire, L.M., Schulz, R., Reynolds III, C.F., Morse, J.Q., Butters, M.A., & Hinrichsen, G.A. (2008). Impact of close family members on older adults’ early response to depression treatment. Psychology and Aging, 23, 447-452.

Martire, L.M., Schulz, R., Keefe, F.J., Rudy, T.E., & Starz, T.W. (2007). Couple-oriented education and support intervention: Effects on individuals with osteoarthritis and their spouses. Rehabilitation Psychology, 52, 121-132.

Martire, L.M., & Schulz, R. (2007). Involving family in psychosocial interventions for chronic illness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 90-94.

Stephens, M.A.P., Martire, L.M., Cremeans-Smith, J.K., Druley, J.A., Wojno, W.C. (2006). Older women with osteoarthritis and their caregiving husbands: Effects of patients’ pain and pain expression. Rehabilitation Psychology, 51, 3-12.

Martire, L.M., Keefe, F.J., Schulz, R., Ready, R., Beach, S.R., Rudy, T.E., & Starz, T.W. (2006). Older spouses’ perceptions of partners’ chronic arthritis pain: Implications for spousal responses, support provision, and caregiving experiences. Psychology and Aging, 21, 222-230.

Martire, L.M., Lustig, A.P., Schulz, R., Miller, G.E., Helgeson, V.S. (2004). Is it beneficial to involve a family member? A meta-analytic review of psychosocial interventions for chronic illness. Health Psychology, 23, 599-611.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Lynn Martire vitae

Center Affiliations

  • Center for Healthy Aging

Strategic Themes

  • Domains of Health and Behavior