Dr Jessica Anne Maxwell

Ph.D. (2017) University of Toronto

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Jessica is a Lecturer in Social Psychology. Her research focuses on interpersonal relationships and sexuality. Her research is guided by the over-arching question "What factors are most important in maintaining satisfying sexual and romantic relationships?"

Research | Current

People are increasingly drawing their sense of self-worth from the quality of their long-term romantic relationships and expect a passionate sex life as part of a fulfilling relationship.

In my research I examine how couples can best maximize their sexual well-being.

In particular, I assess how individual differences in expectations and perceptions influence sexual and relationship well-being, examining factors such as how individuals expect they can best maintain sexual satisfaction, what they expect from casual sex encounters, and how accurate they are in detecting their partners’ feelings and sexual preferences.

In my recent research I apply dual-process models of social cognition to investigate the association between sexual and relationship functioning.

My personal website http://jessmaxwell.com/publications/ has more information and copies of my research.

Teaching | Current

Jessica currently contributes to an undergraduate course in social psychology (PSYCH 204). 

Postgraduate supervision

She is looking to supervise honours students and postgraduate students in the coming year. Please contact her at jessica.maxwell@auckland.ac.nz for more information.


  • 2018   International Association for Relationship Research (IARR) Dissertation Award
  • 2017   University of Toronto Ken Dion Award for Most Outstanding Social/Personality Psychology Graduate Student
  • 2017   University of Toronto Three Minute Thesis Competition, Second Place Winner
  • 2017   Relationship Researchers Interest Group (SPSP) 2017 Graduate Student Paper Award
  • 2015   Society for Personality and Social Psychology Outstanding Research Award       

Areas of expertise

Social Psychology; Close Relationships; Sexuality; Sex; Attachment; Interpersonal Accuracy; Multi-level Modelling; Dyadic Analyses; Daily Diary Methods

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Sanscartier, S., Maxwell, J. A., & Lockwood, P. (2020). No effect of attachment avoidance on visual disengagement from a romantic partner's face. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, 37 (7), 2166-2183. 10.1177/0265407520919991
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/52440
  • Spielmann, S. S., Maxwell, J. A., MacDonald, G., Peragine, D., & Impett, E. A. (2020). The predictive effects of fear of being single on physical attractiveness and less selective partner selection strategies. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, 37 (1), 100-123. 10.1177/0265407519856701
  • Segovia, A. N., Maxwell, J. A., DiLorenzo, M. G., & MacDonald, G. (2019). No strings attached? How attachment orientation relates to the varieties of casual sexual relationships. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 15110.1016/j.paid.2019.05.061
  • McNulty, J. K., Maxwell, J. A., Meltzer, A. L., & Baumeister, R. F. (2019). Sex-Differentiated Changes in Sexual Desire Predict Marital Dissatisfaction. Archives of sexual behavior, 48 (8), 2473-2489. 10.1007/s10508-019-01471-6
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48849
  • Maxwell, J. A., & McNulty, J. K. (2019). No Longer in a Dry Spell: The Developing Understanding of How Sex Influences Romantic Relationships. CURRENT DIRECTIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 28 (1), 102-107. 10.1177/0963721418806690
  • Muise, A., Maxwell, J. A., & Impett, E. A. (2018). What Theories and Methods From Relationship Research Can Contribute to Sex Research. Journal of sex research, 55 (4-5), 540-562. 10.1080/00224499.2017.1421608
  • Maxwell, J. A., Muise, A., MacDonald, G., Day, L. C., Rosen, N. O., & Impett, E. A. (2017). How implicit theories of sexuality shape sexual and relationship well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology, 112 (2), 238-279. 10.1037/pspi0000078
  • Spielmann, S. S., MacDonald, G., Maxwell, J. A., Joel, S., Peragine, D., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2013). Settling for less out of fear of being single. Journal of personality and social psychology, 105 (6), 1049-1073. 10.1037/a0034628

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 2, Room 270
New Zealand

Social links

Web links