Jennifer Priem Ph.D.
Jennifer Priem, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Communication Department at Wake Forest University. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology, and her Masters and Ph.D. in Communication, focusing on communication in personal relationships. Her background provides her an interdisciplinary perspective to understand how relational partners use communication and the effects of communication on stress, health, and relational quality. In her classes, she teaches students how to effectively use communication to initiate, escalate, maintain, and end romantic relationships. She also teaches a variety of courses that delve into the intersections between interpersonal communication, stress, and health. Priem is passionate about helping individuals learn the skills to develop high-quality relationships, in which partners are able to cope with life events and stressors in healthy ways that also strengthen their relationships.
Priem research takes a nuanced view of how communication influences and is influenced by physiological stress. Coined the “black plague of the 21st century,” stress has innumerable influences on health. By examining cortisol responses to messages from a romantic partner, her work positions interpersonal communication as essential to individual’s health and well being. In her research, she has explored how emotional support messages from a romantic partner facilitate physiological stress recovery, as well as relational factors that may influence the effectiveness of support attempts. More recently, she has begun examining how partners interact with each other to co-create effective support interactions, through behaviors as well as emotional and physiological contagion. Her research has won multiple awards from the National Communication Association, has been published in top-tier academic journals, and has been featured in news outlets including NPR, MSN, Science Daily, The Well, Prevention Magazine, and Gatehouse Media.