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Professor Julie Fitness


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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