Current Projects

My personal research interests include commitment in couple relationships, romantic relationship formation, marriage, decision-making during emerging adulthood (18-29 year olds), and Marriage and Family Therapy theory. I am currently exploring with my research team a new phenomenon in romantic relationship formation which I call just talking. With the substantial adoption of smartphones and the use of social media, emerging adults are communicating and forming relationships in unprecedented ways. I have been working on research related to just talking to romantic relationships since I was a doctoral student at Kansas State University. My major professor and mentor at Kansas State University Dr. Amber Vennum has been instrumental to this investigation

Currently I am collecting data and collaborating in an ongoing project with Dr. Spencer Olmstead at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Cameron Brown at Texas Tech University, and Dr. Kristin Anders at Kansas State University. The purpose of this study is to examine the sexual and relationship experiences (both committed and casual) of emerging adults. I am also collaborating with Dr. Leah LeFebvre who is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Alabama. We are investigating the role of technology in romantic relationship formation and rejection.

With my research team we are working on a qualitative project regarding the steps and stages of romantic relationship formation. We call this project the Romantic Relationship Formation Continuum. Since the path to a committed relationship and marriage has become more confusing and ambiguous, we are hoping to investigate some of the obstacles standing in the way of the coupling process. At the heart of this project is a focus on commitment and decision-making.

Helpful Links About Dr. Sibley

Manuscripts In Progress

  • Sibley, D. S., Vennum, A., LeFebvre, L. E., & Brown, C. (in preparation). “We’re just talking”: Investigating a new trend in emerging adult romantic relationship formation.
  • LeFebvre, L. E. & Sibley, D. S. (in preparation). The impact of social media and technology on romantic relationship formation and rejection.
  • Springer, P. R., Turns, B., & Sibley, D. S. (in preparation). The need for transparency in family therapy supervision.
  • Sibley, D. S., Springer, P. R., Vennum, A. V., & McMillan, B. (in preparation). Investigating deciding factors of commitment leading to marriage: A qualitative inquiry.
  • Sibley, D. S., Vennum A., Stanley, S. M., Brown, C. (in preparation). Proceed with caution: How emerging adults are testing the water in just talking romantic relationships.
  • Sibley, D. S., Vennum, A, & Hartenstein J. (in preparation). The theory of resilient commitment.

Institute for Family Studies