“Not Forgiving can Kill You,” Says Dr. Frank Fincham

This post is seventh in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Ask yourself: do I forgive others or do I let my anger fester and grow? For most people, forgiveness is hard; it’s sometimes easier to hold onto things. Forgiveness takes work, as we talked about here. Now ask yourself: do I value my health? While these questions may appear to be random, they are not. At a BYU lecture in 2013, Dr. Frank Fincham explained how the two are connected: “If you ruminate or nurse a grudge you will have a more negative experience, you will show things like higher heart rate, greater galvanic skin response. You will experience increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure, which is a reflection of arterial stiffness. If you do that over time, if it’s chronic, the anger and hostility that characterize ongoing, vengeful thoughts can be linked to very serious health consequences. No surprise given what I’ve just said about blood pressure, that you’re more likely to experience heart disease.”


As the holder of a Rhodes Scholar doctoral degree in social psychology from Oxford University, then a professor and director of clinical training at the University of Illinois, a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University at Buffalo, and an Eminent Scholar and Director of the Family Institute at The Florida State University, as well as an award-winning author of more than 250 publications about personal relationships and a Fellow of five different professional societies, he spoke with authority on the subject of forgiveness. His lecture was the ninth in a series of annual lectures honoring the legacy of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of former president of the LDS Church Gordon B. Hinckley.

“Lack of forgiveness is nothing short of life-threatening,” he said. So if you want to live a long and fulfilling life, I would encourage you to find forgiveness as a way of life.”

His full lecture can be found here, and other highlights here.



Do Women do More Housework than Men? Sociology Professor to Speak on this at Annual Cutler Lecture

Dr. Renata Forste

According to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, both mom and dad work full time in close to half of two-parent American families, However, does equal time at home mean equal time doing housework? FHSS Sociology professor Dr. Renata Forste will answer the question of “women’s work and the gendered division of housework” at an upcoming lecture. With regards to the importance of addressing this topic, she says: “it is because we live in a complex world where economic opportunities are constantly changing and I think that young couples need a broader set of skills in order to manage family and work life in today’s labor market.”

The Virginia F. Cutler Lecture will be held on February 23 at 7pm in room 250 of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower. Student parking is available in nearby Y lots. Visitor parking is available just east of the Wilkinson Center (enter from 900 East).

What is the Difference?

Statistics show, in fact, that while men are assuming more household responsibilities these days, the bulk of the responsibility generally falls on the woman in a two-parent family. The 2015 American Time Use Survey, for instance, found that: “on an average day, 85 percent of women and 67 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management. On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.1 hours. On an average day, 22 percent of men did housework–such as cleaning or laundry–compared with 50 percent of women. Forty-three percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 70 percent of women. Men were slightly more likely to engage in lawn and garden care than were women–12 percent compared with 8 percent.” 

One may be tempted to ask, looking at these data, whether women are just structured for housework? The answer, of course, is more complicated than that. Reporter Bryce Covert says no, “…there’s no biological determinant for housework. No gender is physically predisposed to want to do the dishes or take out the trash.” Dr. Forste’s lecture, then, will be timely. retro-1291738_960_720 “I hope that it will get young people thinking about family roles, both economic and domestic – and about the tools or skills they should develop to have a successful family life given the uncertainties and complexities of the future.  I hope they begin to see family work as ‘work’, not divided by gender.”

Virginia F. Cutler

This lecture is part of a series of annual presentations dedicated to the memory of Virginia Farrer Cutler, whospent her entire life educating people on the home and family. While she served as the University of Utah’s Head of the Home Economics Department, she founded their Family Home Living Center. She later went on to become the dean of BYU’s College of Family living, now known as the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences.

Throughout her lifetime, Dr. Cutler served in many capacities and received a plethora of awards. These include: “United States delegate to the World Forum on Women, Brussels, 1962,” “appointed by President Nixon to the Consumer Advisory Council, 1972-1975,” “Utah Mother of the year, 1972,” and “distinguished service awards from the University of Utah and Cornell University.”

Who do you think does the most housework?

Supporting Families of Children with Special Needs

Though the prevalence of Americans with disabilities has actually gone down in the last five years, from about 20% in 2010 to 12.6% in 2015, it may sometimes seem like more and more people suffer from physical impairments. A similar perception may exist regarding the prevalence of mental illness, when in fact the percentage of our population afflicted by it—twenty—has not changed much in the past few years, according to a report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Nevertheless, both of those numbers represent many real people, possibly even yourself or someone you know. It’s important to know how to support children and families affected by these disabilities, not only because of the scriptural directive we have to “love one another” as Jesus loved us, but also because that knowledge might, at any time, help us endure the onset of a physical or mental disability. Professors Tina Taylor Dyches and Karen W. Hahne provide some useful definitions and tips in Helping and Healing our Families, a 2005 book published by BYU’s School of Family Life.

What is a disability?

There is no single accepted definition of disability, according to the American Census Survey. Nevertheless,  the Americans with Disabilities Act defines it as: “… a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability.” We as Latter Day Saints know that disabilities are not punishments. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states: “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God.” Dyches and Hahne state: “Many of these earthly challenges are not accidental, but are a part of God’s divine plan. God does not punish his children by giving them disabilities.” Parents of children with disabilities can, in fact, receive special blessings:

  • greater spiritual insight: Families with a disabled person can gain an enhanced spiritual understanding regarding the Plan of Salvation. “Such families are blessed by knowing that children who are not accountable will inherit eternal glory…there, we believe, to have their faculties or other deficiencies restored according to the Father’s mercy and justice.”
  • greater ability to accept others who are different: families of a disabled child can become community role-models via their treatment of those who may not be typically valued in popular culture
  • greater character development: siblings can gain increased self-control and become better at cooperating.


What can you Do?

That being said, the daily struggles of dealing with a disability can be difficult to bear, or to help another bear. It may be hard to know what to do to help someone you know affected by one.  First of all, say Dyches and Hahne, recognize that all children need to have their physical and spiritual needs met, to be taught to love and serve others, to keep the commandments and to be good citizens. How do we do that? Elder Boyd K. Packer said, “Now, in all of this there must be balance, for the handicapped have responsibility to work out their own salvation. The nearer the normal patterns of conduct and discipline apply to the handicapped, the happier they will be. Every quarter of an inch of physical and mental improvement is worth striving for.” Joseph Smith’s words enhance that statement: “…all the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.”

With the goal in mind, then, of helping those who are disabled to reach their fullest potential, the authors suggest:

  • Ask parents, “What can we do to support you and your child?”
  • Offer respite care to families who are unable to attend church.
  • Provide transportation to church, activities, or other functions.
  • Invite people with disabilities to all ward and stake activities alongside their peers
  • Ask parents of children with disabilities and service providers to give in-service training to auxiliary and priesthood leaders
  • Set high, rather than low, expectations for children with disabilities.
  • Express your love for the family, even though you cannot empathize fully.
  • Listen to parents’ concerns without judging their parenting skills.

Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. Great spiritual strength is often developed by those with physical challenges precisely because they are challenged. Such individuals are entitled to all the blessings that God has in store for His faithful and obedient children.”

What will YOU do to help families with disabled children?


Capitalizing on Your Education: Know Your Style

Kinesthetic. Visual. Audio. Those three words, these learning styles, categorized us in grade school. They shaped the way we learned, and the ways our teachers taught. The idea of learning styles has been around for decades. “For more than 30 years,” says the Association for Psychological Science, “the notion that teaching methods should match a student’s particular learning style has exerted a powerful influence on education.” As its influence has grown, so has the study of it. Ryan R. Jensen of our Geography department has researched the learning styles of student swithin different majors and learning environments. He identified three new learning styles that describe students working on group projects. And in a 2012 study published in the Asia Pacific Media Educator, he identified four types of communications learners:

Ryan Jensen, All Rights Reserved

Four types of Communications Learners

Global Conceptualizers care about the big picture, the “why” behind lists of facts and details. Concepts are easier to understand than memorized facts, and being sensible is better than being imaginative. These students remember what they see better than what they hear. They are globally, realistically, and sequentially (when it comes to writing) oriented. Global conceptualizers prefer classes dedicated to theory and concepts.

Verbal Learners gravitate to text rather than graphs and charts. They do not like theory-oriented courses. Surprisingly, they do not like reading for fun. Verbal learners do not like proofreading their own work because they are not detail-oriented. They remember things better when they experience them, rather than when they think about them. These students express their opinions boldly in group settings.

Realistic Visualizers see themselves as highly realistic and detail-oriented. These students prefer graphs and charts to obtain information. They understand the overall structures of subjects at the same level that they do their details. When these students remember or recall something, they can picture it in their minds. They learn better by talking things out with other students. Group work is their favorite when they can make a plan for the project. These student rarely get to know their classmates.

Ambiguous Conceptualizers feel most comfortable learning concepts and theory. Remembering what the teacher said is easier for them than recalling visual aids. Reading is their past-time. They love to share their thoughts in group collaboration and dive into projects without planning. These students can remember things that they have thought about easier than things they have done. These students like to master one concept before learning more.

How does this apply to you?

“In recommending a deeper understanding of learning styles,” says Jensen, “we do [not] propose a hyper-individualized approach in which each student is given a unique curriculum to match his or her specific style. But friction may be destructive when existing…thinking and learning learning skills are not called upon and developed. One example of destructive friction is the tendency instructors frequently have to take over as many learning and thinking activities as possible. Knowledge remains inert; that is to say students may learn many facts, formulas and theories but are unable to apply them to new problems.” Jensen suggests that teachers use their knowledge of learning styles to help students “gain satisfaction form learning and thus develop lifelong skills by better understanding their own learning processes and preferences.” It thus behooves students of all majors as well to gain that understanding to further capitalize on their education.

Do your instructors teach to your learning style?

Dr. Frank Fincham on the Paradox of Marriage

This post is fifth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advise on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

There are struggles and successes in any close romantic relationship, as we talk about here and here, but those who can forgive forge a lasting bond, said Dr. Frank Fincham in a 2013 Hinckely Lecture. “Here’s the paradox of close romantic relationships such as marriage,” he said. “We get our deepest affiliate needs fulfilled in our close romantic relationships, and it’s a rare person who has never been hurt, betrayed, wronged, or let down by their partner.” Because marriage is such an intimate relationship, spouses are their most vulnerable. This vulnerability is deeply satisfying, but also reveals what hurts the most, he explains in this two-minute highlight video and in the full lecture, found here.


To this Fincham said, “So forgiveness needs to be available in that relationship, because in those types of relationships we make ourselves vulnerable.” To properly argue and forgive in close relationships like marriage, one must their partner as the whole person that he or she is. While it is important to keep in mind that forgiveness is not necessarily trust, as he mentions here, it’s almost important to remember that “there’s more to the offender than the offending behavior.” A Florida State University professor, Fincham’s research focuses on understanding marriage/partnerships, particularly cognitive processes involved in conflict and the impact of interparental conflict/divorce on children. He’s also conducted two more recent research programs on forgiveness and on prayer in close relationships. He is integrating hemodynamics and cardiac functioning into his research on families. Fincham’s research has been recognized by multiple awards from professional societies.

As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University he was named “Young Social Psychologist of the Year” by the British Psychological Society. Other awards include the Berscheid-Hatfield Career Award for “sustained, substantial, and distinguished contributions to the field of personal relationships.” A Fellow of five different professional societies, he has been listed among the top 25 psychologists in the world based on number of citations per published article.




Benjamin Madley to Present on the American Genocide

We know that American Indians suffered greatly during the expansion of our country in the mid-1800’s. Author Benjamin Madley actually calls what happened to them “An American Genocide.” Fully aware of the dramatic label he gives their sufferings, he details them and their specific causes in his book by the same name, and will discuss it at an upcoming event on BYU campus. He does so, not necessarily for the purpose of being polemic, but so Americans can be more fully aware of their history even as they condemn other countries for similar crimes. 

Courtesy of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies

According to The Nation, Madley writes because “in a world of genocidal violence, claims of American innocence and exceptionalism are dangerous.” His book, which has been talked about in Newsweek, truthdig,  The LA Times, and his upcoming discussion will help those desiring to know more about our history as it relates to the American Indian, and what can be done to change things.

An American Genocide

“Accusations of genocide in California are hardly new,” says Richard White of The Nation. “Many historians, anthropologists, and Indian activists have made them, but An American Genocide stands apart for two reasons. First, Madley is interested not just in spectacular crimes, but also in their institutional basis. Second, he doesn’t use the term “genocide” for its shock value; instead, he considers the term carefully before applying it to state and federal policies.” At the lecture, we can expect an educated account of what truly happened in California in the mid-1800’s.

California Indians have pointed out that although the Holocaust and the Rwandan and Armenian Genocides are taught in schools, the massacre of their ancestors is not. Madley is seeking to rectify this: “He argues that what happened to California Indians was, according to the most widely accepted definition of genocide, not all that different from what happened to Jews, Armenians, or Rwandans.”

The Event

Dr. Madley is a professor of History at UCLA. Originally from Redding, California, he spent a fair amount of time in Karuk County. The Karuk are a Native American tribe based in Happy Camp, California. From them, Dr. Madley “became interested in the relationship between colonizers and indigenous peoples.”  In 2016, the researcher published his book An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873. It won the 2016 Heyday Books History Award. However, that is not all he’s written; he has authored papers as well as book reviews and chapters. Dr. Madley further studies genocide in other countries including Australia and Namibia.

Courtesy of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies

This lecture is part of the annual “William Howard and Hazel Butler Peters Lecture” series. It will be hosted by FHSS’s Charles Redd Center for Western Studies

Do you think learning from the past can help us change the future?

Eating Disorders: Findings About Treatment and What You Can Do

Eating disorders, or the mental disorders that are defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health, affect a relatively low amount of men and women in America, but the effects they have on the lives of those people and their loved ones are deep and far-reaching. Studies have shown that people suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or other such disorders tend to also have anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders, and a much higher chance of other disorders and even death than the general population. Given that, one would assume that anyone suffering in this way would would aggressively and consistently seek treatment. But a study done by BYU School of Family Life professor Russell Crane found that only a small amount of sufferers utilize treatment, and when they do, they have very different experiences in terms of cost, type, and length of treatment. Ultimately, his study, published in Eating Disorders: the Journal of Treatment and Prevention, showed that, for whatever reason, people with eating disorders tend not to get the treatment they need to resolve their problem.

The Study

The younger a patient is, the more expensive their treatment was, for instance, except for patients with bulimia nervosa who were between the ages of 15 and 24. They had the least costly treatment. More importantly, though, his analysis of 5,445 patient records showed that the average length of treatment for sufferers of all ages was significantly shorter than what clinicians recommend. “Across all diagnoses and ages, average treatment length ranged from 3.86 to 6.73 sessions,” he said, as opposed to the recommended 18 to 40 sessions. Research does not yet explain why this is so, but Crane advised clinicians and researchers to explore how to deliver effective treatment in shorter doses if clients do not attend treatment long enough to receive the recommended length of treatment. His study also found that a majority of adolescents with eating disorders tended to receive individual therapy instead of family therapy, despite family therapy’s validated effectiveness. “Clinicians should be sure to discuss its importance with families of adolescents, and to incorporate it into treatment when possible,” he said.

Individuals under age 15 had the highest return to care rates, meaning they needed a second or further group of sessions. Conversely, individuals aged 45 and higher had the lowest return to care rates.” Dr. Crane cites a possible explanation for this: “It may be that older individuals require shorter stays of treatment or fewer episodes of care. Alternatively, since older individuals are more likely to refuse treatment, it may be that they refuse to return to treatment even if another episode of care could be helpful. The youngest individuals may be under more family pressure to receive treatment, and may be more responsive to this pressure.” It may behoove the family members or friends of those sufferers to learn about the benefits of ongoing family therapy treatment, not only for the sufferer but also because of the fact that, as Barnes says: It’s really important that those closest to the individual with an eating disorder get involved in treatment.”

Doing so may be difficult though. In a 2015 Connections article, Dr. Lauren Barnes said: “navigating a relationship with someone experiencing mental illness can be tricky. The surefire way to help such people is by offering educated support and unconditional love. Rather than telling [sufferers] to ‘just eat,’ loved ones should seek understanding. Do your own research on what the person is going through. Call up a clinician, a therapist, a doctor. Get some background information. Look up good books.” This research will foster empathy and make the supporting friend, parent, or sibling much more accessible to the struggling party.

What can YOU do?

friends-by-lakeDr. Barnes offered these other pointers for those who know someone with an eating disorder. In addition to facilitating treatment, Dr. Barnes recommends “being there and listening,” which can make a world of difference in the life of someone struggling with an eating disorder, abuse, or any of a variety of mental and emotional illnesses. But, she says, “rather than blaming the victim, a loved one could say something like, ‘I can’t believe something like that happened to you. I’m going to fight for you.’”

That being said, Barnes also cautions family members and friends to be aware of their own health and not overtax themselves in the care of someone with an eating disorder. There is such a thing as “caretaker burnout.” “It can be exhausting physically, emotionally and mentally to care for a loved one who is struggling with an illness and watching them suffer.” She suggests finding support for yourself if you become overwhelmed caring for someone with a mental illness.


Do You Know Someone with an Eating Disorder?

Students: How Participating in the Fulton Conference Will Help You




The College of Family, Home and Social Sciences invites undergraduate and graduate students from all departments in the college to participate in the Annual Mentored Student Research Conference funded by the Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair.


Class Project Participants: Some classes require you to complete a research project. You may use that project to present at the conference. Individual and group projects are welcome.

Students with Specific Research Interests: You may have a particular idea of what you would be interested in researching. Search for a faculty member that shares that interest and see if they are willing to guide your project.

Students who have been invited by faculty to participate: You may be selected by a faculty member to assist with their research.


1. Create a research project.

2. Make a poster with your findings. This video can help you with that…

…or you can go here to get more instructions and view samples of previous winning posters.

3. Submit your poster at FultonChair.byu.edu by the deadline, Thursday, March 30, 2017 at noon. Submissions are already being accepted!


• Your participation gives you an opportunity to develop your presentation skills by articulating your findings to a broad audience.

• It may help clarify your future educational and career goals.

• It looks good on a resume.

• Networking- you get to know faculty members who may write letters of recommendation.

• You may be able to publish your findings.

• You learn more about the research process.



Cash prizes are offered for winning posters in each department.

All students are welcome to participate!


April 13, 2017

For more information, visit FultonChair.byu.edu.

Fulton Photo
Mary Lou Fulton