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Julie Fitness


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Director Master of Professional Psychology

Professor Julie Fitness is a social-evolutionary psychologist with research interests in the experience and expression of emotions in family and workplace contexts, and on issues around betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness in close relationships. She is a Fellow of the US Association for Psychological Science and was an Associate Editor of the association's flagship journal, Psychological Science, between 2010 - 2012. She is currently Editor of the journal Personal Relationships.

Research interests

Emotions in close relationships and the workplace; family rules and rule violations; sibling relationships; rejection and reconciliation in family relationships.


Fitness, J. (2015). Emotions in relationships. In J.A. Simpson & J. Dovidio (Eds.), APA Handbook of personality and social psychology, Vol. 2: Interpersonal relations and group processes. American Psychological Association, Washington DC.

Rahardjo, L., & Fitness, J. (2014). Indonesian and Australian employee responses to interactional injustice: The roles of negative affect and power distance. Anima, Indonesian Psychological Journal, 29, 1-14.

Stephen, I., Mahmut, M., Case, T., Fitness, J., & Stevenson, R. (2014). The uniquely predictive power of evolutionary approaches to mind and behaviour.  Frontiers in Psychology: Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience.

Fitness, J., & Williams, V. (2013). The features and functions of positive emotions in close relationships. In M.Hojjat & D. Cramer (Eds.), Positive psychology of love (pp. 44-56). New York: Oxford University Press.

Petrak, A., Sherman, K.A., Fitness, J. (2013). Validation of the Croatian and Lebanese revised illness perception questionnaires for healthy people (IPQ-RH). European Journal of Cancer Care (Engl). Dec 27. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12164. PubMed PMID: 24372964

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Rowe, A., Fitness, J. & Wood, L. (2013). The role and functionality of emotions in feedback at university: A qualitative study. The Australian Educational Researcher, DOI 10.1007/s13384-013-0135-7.

Rowe, A., Fitness, J., & Wood, L. (2013). University student and lecturer perceptions of positive emotions in learning.International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, DOI 10.1080/09518398.2013.847506.

Karantzas, G., Avery, M., Macfarlane, S., Mussap, A., Tooley, G., Hazelwood, Z., & Fitness, J. (2013).

Enhancing critical analysis and problem-solving skills in undergraduate psychology: An evaluation of a collaborative learning and problem-based learning approach. Australian Journal of Psychology, 65. 38-45

Fitness, J. (2012). Betrayal and forgiveness in close relationships: Exploring the roles of pain and punishment in relational breakdown and repair. In G. Karantzas & P. Noller (Eds.), Couples and family relationships: A guide to contemporary research, theory, practice, and policy (pp. 259-270). UK: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.

Fitness, J. (2012). Communicating emotion in the family. In A. Vangelisti (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of family communication(2nd ed.) (pp. 377-390). New York: Routledge.

Planalp, S., & Fitness, J. (2011). Interpersonal ethics. In G. Cheney, S. May, & D. Munshi (Eds.), Handbook of communication ethics (pp. 135-147). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.  

Keen, J. & Fitness, J. (2011). Can employers screen job applicants for potential white collar fraud offenders? In S. Boag & N. Tiliopoulos (Eds.), Personality and individual differences: Theory, assessment and application. New York: Nova.

Rowe, A., Fitness, J., & Wood, L. (2010). University student and teacher perceptions of emotions and learning: A qualitative study. Proceedings of the International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation (pp. 2184-2193), November 15-17, Madrid.

Fitness, J. (2009). Anger in relationships. In H. Reis & S. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships (pp. 94-97). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Fitness, J. & Warburton, W. (2009). Thinking the unthinkable: Appraisals and hurt feelings in close relationships.. In A. Vangelisti (Eds.), Feeling hurt in close relationships. (pp. 34-49). New York:Cambridge University Press.

Forgas, J. P., & Fitness, J. (Eds) (2008). Social relationships: Cognitive, affective and motivational perspectives. . New York: Psychology Press.

Jones, A., & Fitness, J. (2008). Moral hypervigilance: The influence of disgust sensitivity in the moral domain.. Emotion, 8, 613-627.

Chen, Z., Williams, K., Fitness, J., & Newton, N. (2008). When hurt won't heal: Exploring the capacity to relive social and physical pain.. Psychological Science, 19, 289-295.

Fitness, J. (2008). Fear and loathing in the workplace. In N. Ashkanasy & C. Cooper (Eds.), Research Companion to Emotions in the Workplace (pp. 127-152). London:Edward Elgar.

Fitness, J., & Peterson, J. (2008). Punishment and forgiveness in close relationships: An evolutionary, social psychological perspective. In J. Forgas & J. Fitness (Eds.), Social relationships: Cognitive, affective, and motivational perspectives. (pp. 255-269). New York:Psychology Press.

Forgas, J. P. & J. Fitness (2008). Evolutionary, socio-cultural and intrapsychic influences on personal relationships: An introductory . In J. P. Forgas & J. Fitness (Eds.), Social relationships: Cognitive, affective and motivational perspectives. (pp. 4-20). New York:Psychlogy Press.

Karacanta, A., & Fitness, J. (2006). Attitudes toward helping out-group members: The roles of empathy and guilt. . Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36, 2730-2749..

Fitness, J. (2006). Emotion and cognition in close relationships.. In P. Noller & J. Feneey (Eds.), Frontiers in social psychology: Close relationships. (pp. 285-304). Hove:Psychology Press.

Fitness, J. (2006). The emotionally intelligent marriage.. In J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas, & J. Mayer (Eds.), Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life: A Scientific Inquiry. (pp. 129-139). New York:Psychology Press.

Fitness, J., & Curtis, M. (2005). Emotional intelligence and the Meta-Mood scale: Relationships with empathy, attributional complexity. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 1, 50-62.

Planalp, S., Fitness, J., & Fehr, B. (2005). Emotion and relationship theories.. In A. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships New York:Cambridge University Press.

Fitness, J. (2005). Bye Bye, black sheep: The causes and consequences of rejection in family relationships. In K. Williams, J. Forgas & W. von Hippel (Eds.), The social outcast: Ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, and bullying. (pp. 445 - 468). Hove:Psychology Press.

Case, T. I., Fitness, J., Cairns, D. & Stevenson, R. J. (2004). Coping with uncertainty: Superstitious strategies and secondary control. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 848-871.

Fitness, J., & Duffield, J. (2004). Emotion communication in families. In A. Vangelisti (Eds.), Handbook of family communication(pp. 473-494). Mahwah , New Jersey:Erlbaum.

Case, T., Fitness, J., Cairns, D., & Stevenson, R. (2004). Coping with uncertainty: Superstitious strategies and secondary control. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4, 848-871.

Fitness, J. (2004). Favouritism and rejection in families. In T. Bowles & Z. Pearce (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological society's Interest Group on the Psychology of Relationships (pp. 63-67). Melbourne:Australian Psychological Society.

Fitness, J., & Fletcher, G. J. O., and Overall, N. (2003). Interpersonal attraction and intimate. In J. Cooper & M. Hogg (Eds.),Sage handbook of social psychology CA:Sage.

Sterelny, K., & Fitness, J. (Eds.) (2003). From mating to mentality: Evaluating evolutionary psychology [Macquarie Monographs in Cognitive Science Series]. Hove: Psychology Press.

Fitness, J. & Case, T. I. (2003). Commentary on "The evolution of the social mind": The emotional brain drives the social mind.Connexions, 6, 17-20.

Clark, M., Fitness, J., & Brissette, I. (2001). Understanding people's perceptions of relationships is crucial to understanding their emotional lives. In G. J. O. Fletcher & M. Clark (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology. Vol 2: Interpersonal processes (pp. 253-278). U.K.:Blackwell Publishers.

Fitness, J. (2001). Betrayal, rejection, revenge, and forgiveness: An interpersonal script approach. In M. Leary (Eds.),Interpersonal rejection (pp. 73-103).:Oxford University Press.

Fitness, J. (2001). Emotional intelligence and intimate relationships: Marital happiness and stability. In J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas & J. Mayer (Eds.), Emotional intelligence in everyday life: A scientific inquiry (pp. 98-112). New York:Psychology Press.

Fitness, J. (2000). Anger in the workplace: An emotion script approach to anger episodes between workers and their subordinates, co-workers and superiors. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21, 147-162.



Awarded Fellow of the International Association for Relationship Research for distinguished scholarship and research2016

Winner of Division of Linguistics & Psychology Award for Excellence in Research Supervision


Winner of APS Psychology of Relationships Research Award


Awarded Fellow status in American Association for Psychological Science


Winner APS Interest Group: Psychology of Relationships Interest Group Research Award


Winner of the MUPRA Postgraduate Supervisor of the Year Award


Young Investigator Award, Society of Experimental Social Psychology


Dissertation Award, International Network on Personal Relationships



Funding Body





ARC Discovery Grant

Emotional responses to comparisons in romantic relationships: implications for relationship wellbeing

Dr Pinkus (UWS), Dr Williams (UNSW), Professor Fitness, Professor Ciarrochi (ACU), Professor Murray (NYU, Buff.)



Macquarie University Strategic Infrastructure Scheme

- Divisional Research Infrastructure Fund

Motion Tracking Unit

Professor William Thompson, Dr Simon Boag, Dr Doris

McIlwain and Dr Julie Fitness



Macquarie University Teaching Development


An active approach to preventing plagiarism and

increasing generic skills

Dr Judi Homewood, Dr Julie Fitness, Dr Julia Irwin,

Dr Allan Bull and Dr Eugene Chekaluk


2004 – 2008

ARC Discovery Grant

Ostracism and Aggression

Professor Ladd Wheeler, Professor Julie Fitness,  Professor Kip Williams







Dr Amanda Elizabeth Ferguson

An Exploration of Employee Engagement in Medical Contexts

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Agnes Kim

Mate Trade-Offs: The Impact of Physical Disabilities on Preferences in the Mating Market

Doctor of Psychology (Counselling Psychology)


Dr Tracey Annette Mills

Extra-dyadic emotional closeness as a third type of 'infidelity': Expectations, emotional responses and individual differences

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)


Dr Vicki Maria Parker Williams

The cost of an engaged life: Examining the moderating influence of attachment anxiety and effortful control on relationship between positive emotions and the psychological impact of stress

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Tabitha Francis Keon

Lay people's theories and experiences of romantic forgiveness

Doctor of Psychology (Counselling Psychology)


Dr Kala Ram

Culture, emotion and the pair-bond: Exploring love, anger, and change in Indian-arranged and

love-match marital relationships

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)


Dr Lauren Suzanne Krause

The motivational potential of experiential rewards and individual differences in reward preferences

Doctor of Psychology (Organisational Psychology)


Dr Julie Peterson

The other side of the coin: Exploring the role punishment plays in maintaining close relationship.

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)


Dr Aydin Karacanta

The role of anger in goal persistence: An experimental investigation

Doctor of Philosophy with a Master of Clinical Psychology


Dr Katie Melissa Seidler

Deconstructing interpersonal crime: The importance of taking a culturally situated perspective

on violence

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr John Robert Reid

Establishing the predictive validity of Emotional Intelligence using real-world criteria

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Andrew Jones

Repulsive criminals and appalling crimes: The influence disgust sensitivity, affect and crime

heinousness on perceptions of culpability

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Deborah Judith Thomas

A theory of shame: from trauma to self


Doctor of Philosophy

VC Commendation


Dr Mataji Kennedy

Alexithymia and interpersonal functioning:

exploring the efficacy of a 10-week group

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)


Dr Natalie Ann Robinson

Modern technology and communication in romantic relationships: The role of attachment and personality on text messaging

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Psychology)


Dr Lorayne Gaye Botwood

Feelings about feedback:  How goal orientation influences behaviour in achievement-related contexts

Doctor of Philosophy with a Master of Organisational Psychology


Dr Helen Elizabeth Lawson Williams

In accordance with virtue:  The role of personal values and emotions in understanding responses to ethical issues at work

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Fiona Ann Papps

Snare or safety-net? An exploration of women's and men's understandings of relationship commitment

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Christine Gillian Whitelaw

Aspects of female reproductive choice

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Trevor Ivan Case

The need to believe: Motivation, disposition, and superstition

Doctor of Philosophy