Around Valentine's Day, students and faculty alike are constantly thinking about relationships — luckily, a couple professors at the University have researched that very subject.

Omri Gillath, a psychology professor, has studied romantic relationships, sexuality, social networks and the neural underpinnings of each.

“I found that relationships are important to our lives, mental and physical health, that you need to work hard on your relationships, and that understanding them requires a multi-level multi-method approach,” Gillath said.

Gillath is also expanding his research, using neuroimaging techniques and psychological measures.

“In my work, I explore the associations between a person's attachment style (relationship style) and goals and behaviors in the caregiving and sexual domains (e.g., ability to provide and receive compassionate care; interest in short- vs. long-term mating strategies),” per his KU website.

Tracey LaPierre, associate professor of sociology, has studied the relationship between marriage and depression.

“There is a large body of research that has demonstrated married individuals, on average, are physically and mentally healthier than individuals who are divorced, widowed or never-married. They even tend to live longer,” she said in an email to the Kansan.

LaPierre said that individuals that co-habitate or remarry see benefits greater than those divorced, widowed or never-married — but not as strong of benefits compared to those who are married.

Being married has an impact on our health and wellness in many ways, including “self-esteem, social support, social integration and financial resources,” LaPierre said. Marriage can also prevent poor health and improve recovery times.

“All marriages are not created equal however,” LaPierre said. “Unhappy marriages provide fewer benefits than happy ones, and there is even evidence to suggest that unhappy marriages can be worse for your health than being divorced, widowed or never married.”