top of page

Hello I am
Dr. Rachel Vanderbilt

I'm an award-winning relationship scientist who studies communication in romantic relationships. As an expert on relationships, I help provide relationship advice backed by science that is accessible to the people who need it. 

Headshot of Rachel Vanderbilt

About Me

headshot of Rachel

I am currently a Sr. Product Researcher at WillowTree. WillowTree is a digital experience consulting firm that helps companies design and build digital products and implement effective AI solutions. Read more...


Read my most recent white paper on building consumer loyalty to your credit cart loyalty program through exceptional digital experiences here.

I earned my PhD from the Communication Arts and Sciences department at Penn State University in 2020. My area of expertise is in interpersonal communication with an emphasis on conflict in romantic relationships.


My research most commonly uses repeated measures to assess changes in experiences and perceptions of interpersonal conflict over time.​ Learn more...


I have taught a variety of undergraduate level courses including interpersonal communication, public speaking, small group communication, communication research methods, and introduction to human communication.  Read More...


My dissertation was a longitudinal examination of serial arguments across the lifespan. This project is available to be downloaded in full here.

Listen to the Relationship Doctor Podcast anywhere you stream your podcast


White Papers

Vanderbilt, R. R., & Tighe-Pigott, K. (2024). Global Credit Card Rewards Programs: How Consumer Preferences Change by Region [White Paper]. WillowTree Apps.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Worley, T, Vanderbilt, R. R., & Liu, E. (2022). “Are You Doing What I Think You’re Doing?” Momentary Goal Projection and Goal Contagion in Romantic Conflict. Communication Research, 50(1), 53-79.


Vanderbilt, R. R. & Solomon, D. H. (2021). The role of perceived resolvability in serial arguments across the lifespan. Personal Relationships.


Brinberg, M., Vanderbilt, R. R., Solomon, D. H., Brinberg, D., & Ram, N. (2021). Using technology to unobtrusively observe relationship development. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 38(12), 3429 - 3450


Worley, T., Liu, E., Vanderbilt, R. R. (2021). Initial goals, goal trajectories, and changes in perceived resolvability during serial arguments. Personal Relationships, 28, 61– 79. 


Morley, V.J., Firgens, E.P.C., Vanderbilt, R. R. et al. (2020) Factors associated with antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis at a university health center. BMC Infectious Diseases, 20, 177.


MacGeorge, E. L., Foley, K. A., Firgens, E. P. C., Vanderbilt, R. R., Worthington, A. K., & Hackman, N. M. (2020). “Watchful Waiting” Advice for Pediatric Ear Infections. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 39, 414–424.


Peng, L., Shen, L., Vanderbilt, R. R., Kim, Y., & Foley, K. A. (2018). The impact of fear versus state empathy on persuasion and social stigma. Media Psychology, 23, 1-24.


Book Chapters

Brinberg, M., Vanderbilt, R. R., & Solomon, D. H. (2022). Unobtrusive observational approaches to studying the texting life of couples: A case study of interpersonal conflict. In J.H. Lipschultz, K. Freberg, & R. Luttrell (Eds.), The Emerald Handbook of Computer Mediated Communication and Social Media. Emerald Publishing.


National Communication Association Logo

2023, Top Paper Award

Interpersonal Communication Division

National Communication Association Logo

2021, Outstanding Dissertation Award

Interpersonal Communication Division

National Communication Association Logo

2021, Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Dissertation Award

International Communication Association Logo

2021, Outstanding Dissertation Award

Interpersonal Communication Division

University of Central Florida Nicholson School of Communication Logo

2016, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award

bottom of page