Does Distance Matter in Relationships?


University of Central Florida psychology student, Shirley Dorsainvil, is the January recipient of the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award (DURA).

Each month the UCF Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) presents the award to an undergraduate UCF student in recognition of outstanding academic research.

It’s no surprise Dorsainvil is this month’s winner of DURA. As a psychology major, Dorsainvil is intrigued by what goes on in the human mind. That’s why she initiated a project that would delve into the mind of individuals who are in long-distance relationships, with a focus on infidelity.

The research for the project “Does Distance Matter?: Predictors of Infidelity And Jealousy In Geographically Close Versus Long Distance Romantic Relationships” started in Jan., 2016. Dorsainvil used an online survey that used different measures to assess jealousy, infidelity, personality, relationship satisfaction, and attachment satisfaction. Dorsainvil discovered that the individuals’ personality, rather than the distance, determined how they felt in their long-distance relationships.

Dorsainvil conducted her impressive research project with some guidance, “I would not be able to complete this project without the support of my mentor Dr. Grace White.”

Dorsainvil plans to present this research at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference in February at Florida Atlantic University.

Dorsainvil is involved in many activities at UCF. In addition to being a DURA recipient, she is a McNair Scholar, an AAP Ambassador, the Parliamentarian of Club Kreyol, and the Secretary of Transfer Knights.

Partaking in these activities is her way of giving back to the community that has been by her side through her journey to success.

“I love the diversity at UCF. Everyone has a story that is different from those back in my home town. These stories have taught me about other cultures and customs.”

After graduation she plans on going to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. After graduate school she wants to continue her education and get a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology. When she’s done with her academic career, she sees herself owning a private practice that provides therapy to families, as well as a therapist in the VA assisting military couples and families.

As part of her award, Dorsainvil received a $200 scholarship, recognition on the OUR website and newsletter, and inclusion in the Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) program in April, 2017.

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