Laura VanderDrift Machia, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology @ Syracuse University


345 Marley Educational Building

*Note: Name changed from Laura Elizabeth VanderDrift to Laura VanderDrift Machia in 2018*

Educational Background


Social Psychology, Purdue University, 2012


Psychology & Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006

Research Interests

Why do some relationships succeed whereas others fail? 

This is the central question of my research program, which I seek to answer using a dyadic, dynamic, theoretically-grounded approach (Machia, Agnew, & Arriaga, 2020; VanderDrift & Agnew, 2019). Using Interdependence Theory, I conduct work that is multilevel in theory and method. To understand why some relationships succeed (i.e., remain satisfying and rewarding over time), whereas others fail (i.e., fail to meet important needs or dissolve), my work examines how people experience moments, acknowledging that those moments are embedded in relationships with emergent properties and in the larger context of time and history. 

Courses Taught

PSY 424: Social Dilemmas

(Current Offering)

PSY 775: Groups and Close Relationships

(Current Offering)

PSY 474: Forensic Psychology

(Last Taught Fall 2020)

PSY 274: Social Psychology

(Last taught: Fall 2020)

PSY 410: Close Relationships

(Last taught: Spring 2017)

PSY 679: Methods in Social Psychology Research

(Last taught: Fall 2017)