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Bjarne M. Holmes

Bjarne M. Holmes

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Dr. Bjarne Holmes is an Associate Professor and the Program Director for Psychology at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Dr. Holmes originally has a background in Sociology and Psychology, having completed his Bachelor's work with a double major from Lund University in Sweden, where he learned the value of qualitative work. His graduate training was in Personality and Social Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (with Dr. Paula Pietromonaco), where he learned the value of experimental work. He went on later to train several years as a postdoctoral research associate in Developmental Psychology/Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School (with Dr. Karlen Lyons-Ruth), where longitudinal work became his focus. Finally, having a mixed research repertoire and theoretical background, he put these together and founded the Family and Personal Relationships Lab at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2005. The research lab was successful with numerous PhD students and Postdocs, through acquiring around $300,000 in external grant funding, and by becoming established as the premier research group for family and personal relationships research in Scotland.

In 2011, Dr. Holmes decided to return to the US when offered to take over as Director of the Psychology Program at Champlain College in Vermont. His current mandate is to grow the program into the largest major within the college. He's particularly excited to now work within a small liberal arts setting with an applied focus and excited to get to live in such a beautiful and Green part of the world!

Dr. Holmes has three areas of research and scholarship. One is focused on the study of attachment, prevention, and well-being in the context of health promotion (e.g., Holmes & Lyons-Ruth, 2006; Lyons-Ruth, Holmes, et al, 2008; Rackett & Holmes, 2010). A second focuses on the development of relationship attitudes/beliefs in relation to past attachment experiences (e.g., Holmes & Johnson, 2009; Backstrom & Holmes, 2007). Yet a third is focused on the influence of popular media on adolescents’ and emerging adults’ social identities with regard to relationships (e.g., Holmes, 2007; Holmes & Johnson, 2009; Johnson & Holmes, 2009; Johnson & Holmes, 2011).

From 2010 onwards Dr. Holmes has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (JSPR). He also founded and produces the journal's official podcast series, "Relationship Matters". You can listen to the podcasts here:

Since moving away from a major research university to a small college, Dr. Holmes has allowed himself to begin focusing on a broader range of scholarship. In particular, he is now working to promote the distribution of relationship research to the larger public. He Chairs the Media Relations Committee of the International Association for Relationship Research (IAAR).

Dr. Holmes writes a blog for Psychology Today called "Love by the Numbers" - you can read his posts here He's also a regular contributor to the popular relationship research website Science of Relationships. Read his writing here:

Dr. Holmes makes appearances in mass media, both on general topics relating to social science and also having conducted dozens of interviews about his own media research on e.g., BBC World Service radio, BBC TV, several NPR radio programs in the US, several CBC radio programs in Canada, Fox News, Good Morning America TV (NBC), and numerous prestigious print publications (e.g., TIME Magazine science section, Washington Post, LA Times, The Times, The Guardian).

In his free-time Dr. Holmes enjoys rock-climbing and mountaineering, which he's been actively doing since 1994. In 2005 he organized the first American expedition to the Borkoldoy mountain range of Kyrgyzstan, where his team successfully made first ascents of and named nine peaks between 4,500 and 4,900 meters (14000 to 16000ft). Two mountains were named after attachment theorists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Read more about the expedition at and at He recently completed his first expedition to the Himalaya. Dr Holmes takes any opportunity he can to get out of the office and into nature and to experience the thrill of adventure.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Close Relationships
  • Communication, Language
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Courses Taught:

  • Attachment Across the Lifespan
  • Research Methods
  • Social Cognition and Personality
  • Social Psychology

Bjarne M. Holmes
Department of Psychology
Education and Human Studies Division
Champlain College
Burlington, Vermont 05401
United States of America

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