Relationship Norm Strength

Dr. Sakaluk’s core research program is focused on the study of relationship norm strength. Relationship norms are the “rules” people are expected to follow in their relationships; MaRSS Lab research aims to understand the features of these norms that make them more or less likely to be followed, and what these aspects of norm strength mean for the quality of romantic relationships. Dr. Sakaluk’s doctoral and postdoctoral research suggests that relationship norm strength manifests in a variety of ways, and that stronger norms are generally linked to higher-quality romantic relationships (preprint forthcoming).

Dr. Sakaluk and MaRSS Lab will begin to test a new comprehensive theory of how norms influence romantic relationships, drawing heavily on the initial research on relationship norm strength. MaRSS Lab is also currently collaborating with Dr. Amy Muise (and her SHaRE Lab) and Dr. Emily Impett (and her RAW Lab) on extending the study of relationship norm strength to other sexual and relational contexts.

 Sexual/Relationship Metascience

Following up on Dr. Sakaluk’s call for greater attention to methodological and statistical issues in sexual science, MaRSS lab works independently and collaboratively on several metascientific initiatives within the realm of sexuality and close relationships research. Past and current efforts include: (1) reviewing and promoting best practices for statistical analyses; (2) evaluating assumptions underlying particular methodologies; (3) proposing strategies to increase the replicability of research; (4) documenting who participates–and who is excluded–from research; and (5) quantifying the replicability of particular fields of research.


Dr. Sakaluk and Dr. Impett’s MaRSS/RAW Labs are in the process of finalizing a large-scale meta-analysis of the sexual health literature. Additionally, MaRSS Lab members have initiated small-to-large scale meta-analyses in a number of other areas of social, health, and clinical psychology research.