Texas Tech University

Judith Fischer, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Human Development and Family Sciences

Email: judith.fischer@ttu.edu

Office: HS 175

Judith Fischer

Research Focus

Current Research

My overall research focus is on interpersonal relationships. Within the interpersonal relationships umbrella are two areas of particular interest: (1) addictions and interpersonal relationships and (2) intersection of human development from adolescence through adulthood in the context of interpersonal relationships. With respect to addictions, my primary research focus has been on alcohol using a biopsychosocial lense, but also includes research on substances, disordered eating, and codependency. Colleagues and I (Fischer, J. L., Spann L., & Crawford, D. (1991). Measuring codependency. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 8, 87-100) developed a 16-item scale to measure codependency that became a standard in the field. It has been translated into numerous languages and has been used in studies around the world. With respect to alcohol, colleagues and I have contributed a chapter on families coping with alcohol and substance use to the book Families and Change in the last three editions. Over the last several decades a number of peer reviewed articles have appeared in alcohol-related as well as relationship journals. These studies have used data sets collected from Texas Tech students alone, from students at Texas Tech and two additional college campuses, and the participants in the Add Health. The primary focus has been on mediating and moderating processes involving family, close relationships, romantic relationships, and alcohol use and misuse. A review in Current Drug Abuse Review in 2012 documented issues involving romantic relationships and alcohol (reference below). An edited book and special issue of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly (2007) highlighted issues of families and alcohol.

At the intersection of human development and interpersonal relationships, as a doctoral student, my dissertation considered family dynamics in four-person families with two groups of families having an adolescent with a problem with delinquency or a specific mental health issue, one control group with an adolescent with a broken bone, and one control group of families with no issues (Fischer, J. L. (1980). Reciprocity, agreement and family style in disturbed and nondisturbed families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 9, (5), 391-406). In other early research, I looked at gender roles, intimacy, and their intersection. My colleague Donna Sollie and I began a study in the early 1980s on transitions to adulthood with a cross-sequential design of two cohorts of Texas Tech graduates, those who had graduated two years previous to our first contact with them and those who were just graduating. Initially, they were followed over three years. Subsequent waves included follow-ups eight years later and 25 years later. At the 25-year mark we also included a study of college students on the same measures as those used earlier. We focused on gender roles, stress, coping, intimacy and marital adjustment, and social network interactions. Recent publications from this data set include a study of mid-life marital adjustment predicted from intimacy levels 25 years previous, a study of latent classes of midlife adults which found three groups: a happy group (mostly women); an unhappy with work group (mostly men); and an unhappy group (men and women, primarily unhappy with their marriage). As well, we've looked at well-being and predictors of well-being over 25 years and considered not just changes within individuals as documented by longitudinal analysis, but also societal changes as seen in comparisons of cohorts of college seniors separated by 25 years. This work with understanding the development of people from emerging adulthood through mid-life continues.

In my research, I use a variety of statistical analyses appropriate to the research questions and data on hand, including structural equation, latent class, and multi-level /hierarchical modeling. My research was funded, in part, by NICHD and NIAAA.

Areas of Expertise

  • Alcohol and interpersonal relationships
  • Transitions to adulthood
  • Adolescent and adult development in the context of interpersonal relationships 
  • Statistical techniques

Selected Publications

Lyness, K. P., & Fischer, J. L. (in press) Families coping with alcohol and substance use (Ch. 15). In, C. Price, K. R. Bush, S. J. Price, & P. C. McKenry (Eds.) Families and change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Banford, A., Ivey, D., Wickrama, T., Fischer, J., Prouty, A., & Smith, D. (2016). The role of natural disaster in individual and relational adjustment in Sri Lankan mothers following the 2004 tsunami. Disaster, 40(1).    

Fischer, J., Zvonkovic, A., Juergens, C., Engler, R., & Frederick, H. (2015). Work and family at midlife: A person centered approach. Journal of Family Issues, 36 (1), 56-86. doi:10.1177/0192513X13488370

Prouty, A.M., Fischer, J., Purdom, A., Cobos, E., & Helmeke, K. (2015). Spiritual coping: A gateway to enhancing family communication during cancer treatment. Journal of Religion & Health. doi: 10.1007/s10943-015-0108-4

Niehuis, S., Reifman, A., Fischer, J., Lee, K-H. (2015). Do episodic self- and partner-uncertainty mediate the association between attachment orientations and emotional responses to relationship-threatening events in dating couples? Cognition and Emotion, doi:10.1080/02699931.2015.1050999

Wiersma, J. D., & Fischer, J. L. (2014). Young adult drinking partnerships: Alcohol-related consequences and relationship problems 6 years later. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs,75, 704–712.

Fischer, J. L., Frederick, H., Niehuis, S., Sollie, D., Engler, R., Corwin, M., Herbert, R., SoRelle, D., Lutz, A., Schrick, B. (2014). Cross-sectional and longitudinal predictors of well-being: Invariance across 25 years. The Journal of Positive Psychology: Dedicated to furthering research and promoting good practice, 9(4), 350-365. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2014.902491

Fischer, J. L., & Wiersma, J. D. (2012). Romantic relationships and alcohol use. Current Drug Abuse Review, 5, 98-116.

Wiersma, J., Fischer, J., Cleveland, H. H., Reifman, A., & Harris, K. (2011). Selection and socialization of dating, cohabitating, and married young adult romantic partners' drinking. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28, 182-200.

Boden, J., Fischer, J., & Niehuis, S. (2010). Predicting marital adjustment from young adults' initial levels and changes in emotional intimacy over time: A 25-year longitudinal study. Journal of Adult Development, 17, 121-134.

Wiersma, J., Cleveland, H. H., Herrera, V., & Fischer, J. (2010). Intimate partner violence in young adult dating, cohabitating, and married drinking partnerships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 360-374.

Wampler, R., Downs, A., & Fischer, J. (2009). A brief version of the Children's Roles Inventory (CRI-20). American Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 37, 287-298.

Fischer, J. L., Fitzpatrick, J., & Cleveland, B. (2007). Linking family functioning to dating relationship quality via novelty seeking and harm avoidance personality pathways. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 575-590.

Fischer, J. L., Forthun, L., Pidcock, B., & Dowd, D. (2007). Parent relationships, emotion regulation, psychosocial maturity and college student alcohol use problems. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 912-926.

Fischer, J. L., Mulsow, M., & Korinek, A. (Eds.) (2007). Familial Responses to Alcohol Problems. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.

Fischer, J. L., Fitzpatrick, J. A., Cleveland, B., Lee, J.-M., McKnight, A., Miller, B., (2005). Binge drinking in the context of romantic relationships. Addictive Behaviors, 30, 1496-1516.

Fischer, J. L., Pidcock, B. W., Munsch, J., &  Forthun, L. (2005). Parental abusive drinking and sibling role differences. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 23, 79-97.