Magazine Feature / People

‘Dr. Love’ garners award for relationship research

photo portrait

Markman has co-authored 12 books, including the best-seller Fighting For Your Marriage. PHOTO BY: Wayne Armstrong.

His name is filed under “Dr. Love” in reporters’ rolodexes across the nation. It’s not uncommon for him to field calls from USA TodayThe New York Times and Oprah in the same week.

But Howard Markman is committed to more than providing marriage advice via the media.

Markman, a University of Denver psychology professor and co-director of theCenter for Marital and Family Studies, is a scholar and teacher internationally known for his work on the prediction and prevention of divorce and marital distress.

He received the Distinguished Scholar Award at Convocation Sept. 28. The award recognizes significant achievement in professional scholarship, as demonstrated by publications and their positive effect in the classroom.

“This is one of the biggest honors a DU professor can earn,” says Markman. “I’m so humbled to have been nominated and to receive the award.”

Markman’s interest in relationships began as an undergraduate when he was a resident adviser at Rutgers University.

“As a good psychology major, I tried to turn to research to find answers for my students dealing with relationship problems,” Markman says. “I soon realized there was not much out there about what makes a good relationship.”

His desire to fill in those gaps led him to graduate school at Indiana University for master and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology.

Markman directed the Couple Communication Program at Bowling Green State University for three years before coming to the University of Denver in 1980.

Over the years, he has conducted extensive research about what predicts divorce. Using his research, he and DU Research Professor Scott Stanley developed the PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement) program, a research-based marriage education program to help couples communicate more effectively with the goal of improving relationship satisfaction. The PREP system is currently in use in a variety of settings worldwide.

Markman’s research team has written more than 150 journal articles and papers. He has co-authored 12 books, including 12 Hours to a Great Marriage and the best-seller Fighting For Your Marriage. His work has been funded by federal agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health and the Administration of Children and Families. Markman is currently overseeing nearly $9 million in active federal grants for projects looking at the long-term effects of premarital intervention, marriage education in the Army, using marriage education to foster investment in fatherhood and the role of cohabitation on the pathways toward marriage.

“Over the past 30 years, Howard has helped define the field that tries to understand the nature of family relationships and marriage,” says Rob Roberts, associate professor and chair of the psychology department.

“It’s extraordinarily rare when behavioral science research has a significant impact on the general public as well as with scientists and theoreticians in the discipline.”

In addition to his research work, Markman teaches a full load of undergraduate and graduate courses.

“The quality of the students at DU is really terrific. The opportunity to get into the classroom, to get fresh ideas from the students in my classes, has kept me at DU for all of these years,” Markman says. “Our students are the best on the planet.”

Markman is on sabbatical for the 2007–08 academic year and plans to spend the time traveling, presenting at conferences, writing and applying for new grants. His over-arching dream is to develop a national center for marriage research and training at DU that would house interdisciplinary grants in one place.

“Research is not lonely enterprise—it’s the product of collaboration,” he says. “The best thing about my work is the relationships I’ve developed with people in my department, students and colleagues at DU.”

Read about other award winners.

Comments are closed.