Katherine Jane Williams Baucom portrait
  • Assistant Professor, Psychology Department


  • Baucom, KJW, Mercer, FD, Aguirre MC & Christensen A (2022). Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy. (pp. 644-653). Oxford University Press. Published, 01/2022.
  • Baucom, KJW, Pershing, ML, Dwenger, KM, Karasawa, M, Cohan, JN & Ozanne, EM (2021). Barriers and facilitators to enrollment and retention in the National Diabetes Prevention Program: Perspectives of women and clinicians within a health system. Women's Health Reports. Vol. 2(1), 133-141. Published, 05/12/2021.
  • Heyman RE, Baucom KJW, Xu S, Slep AMS, Snarr JD, Foran HM, Lorber MF, Wojda AK & Linkh DJ (2021). High sensitivity and specificity screening for clinically significant intimate partner violence. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43). Vol. 35, 80-91. Published, 03/01/2021.
  • Hogan, J, Crenshaw, AO, Baucom, KJW & Baucom, BRW (2021). Time spent together in intimate relationships: Implications for relationship functioning. Contemporary Family Therapy. Vol. 43(3), 226-233. Published, 01/25/2021.
  • Heyman RE, Baucom KJW, Giresi J, Isaac LJ & Slep AMS (2020). Patient Experience and Expression of Unpleasant Emotions During Health Care Encounters. Journal of patient experience. Vol. 7, 969-972. Published, 12/01/2020.
  • Aguirre MC, Brown H, Gershenoff D, Hinton KL, Huntzinger OM, Klein N, Ramos C, Tavake-Pasi OF, Witte B, Wolfsfeld M, Sher T, Simmons DL, Smith TW, Clark L & Baucom KJW (2020). The Role of Advocacy in Adapting the Diabetes Prevention Program for Couple-Based Delivery That Reaches Marginalized Groups. The Behavior therapist. Vol. 43, 261-265. Published, 11/01/2020.
  • Heyman RE, Baucom KJW, Slep AMS, Mitnick DM & Halford WK (2020). An Uncontrolled Trial of Flexibly Delivered Relationship Education with Low-Income, Unmarried Perinatal Couples. Family relations. Vol. 69, 849-864. Published, 10/01/2020.
  • Deits-Lebehn C, Baucom KJW, Crenshaw AO, Smith TW & Baucom BRW (2020). Incorporating physiology into the study of psychotherapy process. Journal of counseling psychology. Vol. 67, 488-499. Published, 10/01/2020.
  • Slep AMS, Heyman RE, Lorber MF, Baucom KJW & Linkh DJ (2020). Evaluating the Effectiveness of NORTH STAR: a Community-Based Framework to Reduce Adult Substance Misuse, Intimate Partner Violence, Child Abuse, Suicidality, and Cumulative Risk. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research. Vol. 21, 949-959. Published, 06/01/2020.
  • Bulling LJ, Baucom KJW, Lorber MF, Heyman RE, Slep AMS & Mitnick DM (2020). Predicting program retention in a flexibly-delivered relationship education program for low-income, unmarried parents. Journal of Family Social Work. Published, 01/01/2020.
  • Heyman RE, Slep AMS, Lorber MF, Mitnick DM, Xu S, Baucom KJW, Halford WK & Niolon PH (2019). A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Impact of the Couple CARE for Parents of Newborns Program on the Prevention of Intimate Partner Violence and Relationship Problems. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research. Vol. 20, 620-631. Published, 11/01/2019.
  • Baucom KJW & Ritchie ND (2019). Including partners in the National Diabetes Prevention Program: Rationale and practical considerations. American Association of Diabetes Educators. 46-47. Published, 10/2019.
  • Heyman RE, Baucom KJW, Slep AMS, Mitnick DM & Lorber MF (2019). A Research Program Testing the Effectiveness of a Preventive Intervention for Couples with a Newborn. Family process. Vol. 58, 669-684. Published, 09/2019.
  • Tracy EL, Berg CA, Baucom KJW, Turner SL, Kelly CS, Van Vleet M, Butner J & Helgeson VS (2019). Daily sleep quality and daily stressors in couples coping with type 1 diabetes. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. Vol. 38, 75-83. Published, 01/01/2019.
  • Baucom, K.J.W., Turner, S.L., Tracy, E.L., Berg, C.A., & Wiebe, D.J. (2018). Depressive symptoms and diabetes management from late adolescence to emerging adulthood. Health Psychology, 37, 716-724. doi:10.037/hea0000645. Published, 08/2018.
  • Baucom, B.R.W., Leo, K., Adamo, C., Georgiou, P.G., & Baucom, K.J.W. (2017). Conceptual and statistical issues in couples observational research: Rationale and methods for design decisions. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 972-982. doi:10.1037/fam0000370. Published, 12/01/2017.
  • Butner, J.E., Deits-Lebehn, C., Crenshaw, A.O., Wiltshire, T.J., Perry. N.S., … Baucom, K.J.W., & Baucom, B.R.W. (2017). A multivariate dynamic systems model for psychotherapy with more than one client. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64, 616-625. doi:10.1037/cou0000238. Published, 11/01/2017.
  • Chaspari, T., Timmons, A.C., Baucom, B.R., Perrone, L., Baucom, K.J.W., Georgiou, P.G., Margolin, G., & Narayanan, S.S. (2017). Exploring sparse representation measures of physiological synchrony for romantic couples. International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction. Published, 01/2017.
  • Kliem S, Weusthoff S, Hahlweg K, Baucom KJ & Baucom BR (2015). Predicting long-term risk for relationship dissolution using nonparametric conditional survival trees. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43). Vol. 29, 807-17. Published, 12/01/2015.
  • Baucom KJ, Queen TL, Wiebe DJ, Turner SL, Wolfe KL, Godbey EI, Fortenberry KT, Mansfield JH & Berg CA (2015). Depressive symptoms, daily stress, and adherence in late adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association. Vol. 34, 522-30. Published, 04/01/2015.
  • Baucom KJ, Baucom BR & Christensen A (2015). Changes in dyadic communication during and after integrative and traditional behavioral couple therapy. Behaviour research and therapy. Vol. 65, 18-28. Published, 01/01/2015.
  • Trillingsgaard, T., Baucom, K.J.W., & Heyman, R.E. (2014). Predictors of change in relationship satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 63, 667-679. Published, 11/2014.
  • Kaufman, E.A., & Baucom, K.J.W. (2014). Treating comorbid social anxiety and major depression: The challenge of diagnostic overshadowing. Clinical Case Studies, 13, 265-281.. Published, 05/2014.
  • Baucom KJ, Baucom BR & Christensen A (2012). Do the naïve know best? The predictive power of naïve ratings of couple interactions. Psychological assessment. Vol. 24, 983-94. Published, 12/01/2012.
  • Trillingsgaard, T., Baucom, K.J.W., Heyman, R.E., & Elklit, A. (2012). Relationship interventions at the transition to parenthood: Issues of timing and efficacy. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 61, 770-783.. Published, 11/2012.
  • Baucom KJ, Sevier M, Eldridge KA, Doss BD & Christensen A (2011). Observed communication in couples two years after integrative and traditional behavioral couple therapy: outcome and link with five-year follow-up. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. Vol. 79, 565-76. Published, 09/01/2011.
  • Williams-Baucom, K.J., Atkins, D.C., Sevier, M., Eldridge, K.A., & Christensen, A. (2010). “You” and “I” need to talk about “us:” Linguistic patterns in couple interactions. Personal Relationships, 17, 41-56. Published, 03/2010.

Research Statement

My research focuses on understanding and improving couples’ adaptation to stressors within and outside their relationship. Further, through my intervention research, I have developed an interest in understanding how efficacious interventions are implemented in real-world community and healthcare settings. My work has been supported by NIH (3-year predoctoral NRSA, 5-year K23), the American Psychological Foundation, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, International Association for Relationship Research, UCLA, and the University of Utah (Utah Research Foundation, Consortium for Families and Health Research [C-FAHR]). This support has allowed me to be fully engaged in my program of research.

Most couples face several chronic and acute stressors over the course of their relationships. My work is rooted in the idea that the way a given couple adapts to the stressors that arise is influenced by the nature of the stressor (e.g., chronic, acute), vulnerability factors that partners bring to the relationship (e.g., personality characteristics or family history), and the overall quality of their relationship (see Figure; Karney & Bradbury, 1995). Over time, their relationship quality will also be affected by how they adapt. Thus, distressed couples (i.e., those with clinically low levels of relationship quality) are less likely to adapt effectively to challenges and, thus, are more likely to experience additional stress; likewise, couples who do not effectively adapt to challenges are more likely to experience additional stressors and to have low levels of relationship quality.

Adaptation in Distressed Relationships

My research as a graduate student focused on understanding the relationship processes common in distressed couples, as well as how these processes can be changed through couple therapy in the hopes of improving relationship quality. The theory underlying behavioral couple therapy suggests that helping distressed couples communicate more effectively leads to parallel improvements in relationship functioning. In my dissertation I examined trajectories of change in couples’ observed communication during couple therapy through two years after treatment termination. These data were from a randomized clinical trial of seriously and chronically distressed couples at high risk for divorce, the largest outcome study of behavioral couple therapy ever. My dissertation studies were the first to examine observed communication at a time point beyond post-therapy. I found that couples generally improved their communication from pre- to post-therapy and maintained those improvements through the 2-year follow-up (Baucom et al., 2011, 2015). Furthermore, changes in some aspects of communication were related to treatment outcomes (improvements in relationship satisfaction and relationship maintenance). In collaboration with other faculty at the University of Utah, I have continued this line of research with support from a Funding Incentive Seed Grant and a C-FAHR Faculty Pilot Grant.

Couples’ Adaptation to External Stressors

My recent work has sought to understand and improve couples’ adaptation to stressors outside their relationship. The birth of a child is one example of a stressor that is often associated with sharp declines in relationship quality (e.g., Mitnick et al., 2009). Given this, primary prevention programs were developed to mitigate declines in relationship quality and other aspects of relationship functioning. Much of my research effort in this area has focused on evaluating primary prevention programs for couples experiencing the stress of pregnancy and a newborn, along with the chronic stress of low-income status. Across small pilot trials in Los Angeles (Baucom et al., 2018) and New York, and large uncontrolled (Heyman, Baucom, et al., in press) and randomized (Heyman, Slep, Lorber, Mitnick, Baucom, et al., 2019) trials in New York, my colleagues and I did not find support for the efficacy or effectiveness of the American version of Couple CARE for Parents (Heyman, Baucom, et al., 2019). It may be that this stressful life transition is an inopportune time to intervene with couples who are already experiencing the chronic stress of low-income status. These results were likely impacted by significant challenges with recruitment and retention, highlighting the need to better understand program implementation and methods for improving enrollment and engagement (e.g., reducing number of sessions, tailoring content to meet participant desires). This work spurred my interests in implementation and community engagement, both of which I am focusing on in my current and planned work.

Poor physical health of one or both partners functions as a stressor for many couples and is linked to worse relationship quality through a series of interrelated biopsychosocial processes (Robles et al., 2014). If one partner has (or is at risk for) a chronic disease, there are several lifestyle factors that, if changed, may improve the long-term outcomes for the individual. Yet, individual partners’ adaptation occurs in the context of their relationship – one partner making changes to their physical activity or eating habits is likely to influence the other partner and vice versa. Due at least in part to this mutual influence, partners tend to be similar in a wide range of aspects of health, including lifestyle factors and risk for chronic disease. Although there are many couple- and family-based psychosocial interventions for adults who have developed chronic diseases (Martire & Helgeson, 2017), few programs that aim to prevent chronic diseases systematically include close others. Given the prevalence and costs associated with chronic diseases in the United States, this is a crucial area for future work.

My current work seeks to examine whether including close others in primary prevention of type 2 diabetes leads to superior outcomes compared with programs delivered to individual adults. As a first step, I partnered with clinical scientists at Denver Health and the University of Colorado-Denver to examine whether there were differences in outcomes between individuals who signed up for the CDC’s year-long National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) together with another household member and those who signed up alone. The DPP was efficacious in a large randomized controlled trial (The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, 2002), but results in the community demonstrate room for significant improvement in intervention outcomes as well as in recruitment and engagement of those at highest risk (Ely et al., 2017). We found those who signed up for the program together with another household member were more likely to enroll and complete the program, and stayed in the program longer, relative to those who signed up for the program individually (Ritchie, Baucom, & Sauder, 2020). Further, men who signed up with another household member, compared with men who signed up individually, were more likely to meet the CDC goal of at least 5% body weight loss (Ritchie, Baucom, & Sauder, 2020). Although the nature and quality of the relationships among household members were unknown, this initial work suggests that including close others in primary prevention programs may increase enrollment, engagement, and possibly even outcomes, of primary prevention programs.

Building on this work, with support from a 5-year Mentored Patient-Oriented Career Development Award (K23) from NIDDK, I am in the process of adapting the DPP for delivery to couples who want to go through the program together. This adaptation is guided by (1) data I have collected to qualitatively describe partner influences on lifestyle change in the DPP and preferences for couple-based lifestyle intervention, and (2) feedback from 12 members of a Community Advisory Board (CAB; Newman et al., 2011) I formed in 2019 to ensure the adaptation of the DPP will be broadly applicable to couples across racial and ethnic groups.


  • *Aguirre, M.C., *Diaz, Y., *Bauman, T., *Nemirovsky, Y., *Gutierrez Chavez, M., Ramos, C., Asnaani, A., Gutner, C., Ritchie, N.D., & Baucom, K.J.W. (2021, November 18-21). Emotional, social, and structural barriers among Latinx participants in the National Diabetes Prevention Program. [Poster presentation]. The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Annual Conference, Virtual Meeting. Poster, Presented, 11/18/2021.
  • The ABCs of Fs and Ks (co-facilitator) Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center Fall Retreat University of Utah . Other, Presented, 11/12/2021.
  • *Whitaker, M., Gutierrez Chavez, M., Gutner, C., & Baucom, K.J.W. (2021, November 8-12). Strategies and Adjustments Made to the National Diabetes Prevention Program in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. [Poster presentation]. University of Utah Diabetes & Metabolism Research Center Fall Retreat, Virtual Meeting. Poster, Presented, 11/09/2021.
  • Tracy, E.L., Baucom, K.J.W., Helgeson, V.S., & Berg, C.A. (2020, March). Illness appraisal and positive interaction in couples with type 1 diabetes. Poster to be presented at the 41st Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society for Behavioral Medicine, San Francisco, CA. Poster, Accepted, 11/04/2019.
  • Chair, ABCT Academic & Professional Issues Committee Meeting, Atlanta, GA. Other, Presented, 11/2019.
  • Baucom, K.J.W., Aguirre, M.C., Arones, Y., Coulter, H., Gershenoff, D., Hinton, K.L., Napia, E., Ramos, C., Rowe, N., Tavake-Pasi, O.F., Villalta, J., Sher, T., Smith, T.W., & Clark, L. (2019, November). Community advisory board for couple-based diabetes prevention. Poster presented at the annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Atlanta, GA. Poster, Presented, 11/2019.
  • Baucom, K.J.W. (2019, October). Leveraging close relationships to maximize the impact of the Diabetes Prevention Program. University of Utah Diabetes & Metabolism Research Center Fall Retreat, Salt Lake City, UT. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2019.
  • Baucom, K.J.W., Helgeson, V.S., & Berg, C.A. (2019, July). In the eye of the beholder? Communication in couples coping with type 1 diabetes. Poster presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, San Francisco, CA. Poster, Presented, 07/2019.
  • Rascon, A., Heyman, R.E., Baucom, K.J.W., Isaac, L., Haydt, N.C., DiSpirito, Z.F., Glazman, J.E., Guerrera, C., Fat, S.J., & Slep, A.M.S. (2019, June). Patient Experience and Expression of Unpleasant Emotion during Healthcare Encounters. Poster presented at the International Association for Dental Research, Vancouver, Canada. Poster, Presented, 06/2019.
  • Chair, ABCT Academic & Professional Issues Committee Meeting, Washington, DC. Other, Presented, 11/2018.
  • Chair, ABCT Awards Ceremony. Other, Presented, 11/2017.
  • Leo, K., Adamo, C., Georgiou, P.G., Baucom, B.R.W., & Baucom, K.J.W. (2017, November). Observational coding: Power in the Masses. Poster presented at the annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Diego, CA. Poster, Presented, 11/2017.
  • Baucom, K.J.W. (2017, November). Discussant. From Efficacious to Effective: Interventions for Disadvantaged Couples. Symposium at the annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, San Diego, CA. Presentation, Presented, 11/2017.
  • Heyman, R.E., Slep, A.M.S., Baucom, K.J.W., Mitnick, D.M., Lorber, M.F., & Xu, S. (2017, August). Prevention programs for couples with a newborn: Promising or problematic? Child Development: The Roles of the Family and Public Policies, Vejle, Denmark. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 08/2017.