Loyola University Maryland


Theresa E. DiDonato, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Office: CTM034B
Telephone: 410-617-5135


  • B.A. (Psychology & English with Honors), Wellesley College
  • Sc.M. Brown University
  • Ph.D. Brown University

Scholarly Interests:

As a social psychologist and relationship scientist, I am keenly interested in how people build, maintain, and dissolve their romantic relationships. For many adults, their romantic relationships constitute their closest relationship, and the quality of these relationships affects individuals’ psychological and physical wellbeing. How then, do we form and sustain strong, healthy partnerships?

My empirical work in relationship science has focused predominantly on romantic attraction and partner-facilitated self-authenticity, along with forgiveness and capitalization. Some questions I have asked include: how does the use of different humor styles (including sexist humor) affect romantic interest? Do people strategically use humor to advance specific romantic motives? How does the experience of affirmation within a romantic relationship promote self-authenticity? A sample of recent publications is listed below.

My teaching interests include core psychology courses, such as introductory psychology, research methodology, and social psychology, as well as specialized courses in social psychology including interpersonal behavior and advanced research courses on close relationships.

Representative Publications:

DiDonato, T. E. (2020). Self-authenticity and the Michelangelo phenomenon. In B. A.

      Mattingly, K. P. McIntyre, & G. W. Lewandowski (Eds.) Interpersonal Relationships

      and the Self-Concept. 105-123. New York, NY: Springer.


Betz, D. E., & DiDonato, T. E. (2020). Is it sexy to be sexist? How stereotyped humor affects

      romantic attraction. Personal Relationships27(4), 732-759.

DiDonato, T. E. & Jakubiak, B. K. (2016). Strategically funny: Romantic motives affect

humor style in relationship initiation. Europe's Journal of Psychology, 12, 390-405.

DiDonato, T. E. & Jakubiak, B. K. (2016). Sustainable decisions signal sustainable
     relationships: How purchasing decisions affect perceptions and romantic 
     attraction. Journal of Social Psychology, 156, 8-27. 

DiDonato, T. E. McIlwee, L. J., & Carlucci, M. E. (2015). The fallout of forgiveness:
     How forgiveness predicts third party perceptions of the forgiver and the forgiver's 
     relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships32(4), 417-440. 



Course Offerings:

PY101: Introductory Psychology
PY201: Social Psychology
PY291 & 292: Research Methods I & II


Sanil Mayilkunnel


Sanil decided to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology to better serve and provide care for marginalized populations