Faculty Director
133 Williams Hall
890 Drillfield Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Primary Phone

About Us

The Research for Alcohol and Couples Health (REACH) Lab aspires to increase community safety by reducing alcohol misuse, intimate partner violence (IPV), and their co-occurrence. Specific goals include (1) identifying for whom, when, and how alcohol use facilitates IPV; (2) increasing understanding of alcohol misuse and IPV among priority, minoritized, and understudied populations; and (3) translating empirical findings into accessible interventions. The REACH Lab uses multi-method approaches (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, experimental drinking paradigms, self- and partner-report, and psychophysiological data) to advance the alcohol-related IPV field with the goal of translating evidence-based IPV risk and protective factors into efficacious prevention and intervention programming. 

Areas of Interest:

  • Alcohol/Drug Use
  • IPV (psychological, cyber, physical, sexual)
  • Emotion Regulation
  • Psychophysiological Correlates of Alcohol-Related IPV
  • Jealousy/Infidelity
  • Couples
  • Trauma 


Lab Director:

Dr. Meagan Brem's photo

Dr. Meagan J Brem (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Science program within Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tennessee in 2021 after completing an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship at the Charleston Consortium/Medical University of South Carolina (Substance Abuse Track). Dr. Brem's research investigates the intersection of alcohol use and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration. To date, her research has focused on mechanistic testing of distal and proximal moderators of the association between alcohol use and IPV, broadening the definition and reach of alcohol-related IPV theories, testing brief, laboratory-based interventions for aggression, and examining IPV correlates among various populations (e.g., college students, adolescents, adults arrested for domestic violence, adults with substance use disorders, community couples, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ+). Her research has been funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Psychological Foundation (2017 Visionary Grant Recipient).

When she is not in the lab, Dr. Brem might be found going for a run, hiking through one of the local trails with her family, or exploring a new restaurant.


Graduate Students:

Allison Tobar's photo

Allison Tobar (she/her), B.S. & B.A.
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology

Allison is a second-year Ph.D. student and received a B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a B.S. in Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. In undergrad, she was in various research labs exploring substance use, health disparities, and intimate partner violence on a NIDA K23 grant. After undergrad, she spent two years as a research assistant on a PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness study examining different models of care for pregnant women with opioid use disorder. Additionally, she studied how COVID-19 impacted recovery and prenatal care for mothers with substance use disorders. Allison’s research interests include sexual assault and risky behaviors with an emphasis on substance use while using mixed methods and a community-focused approach. She also has a particular interest in underrepresented populations within these topics.

E-mail: atobar@vt.edu


TJ Shaw's photo

Thomas Joseph Shaw (he/him), B.A. & B.S.

Graduate Student, Department of Psychology

TJ is a second-year Ph.D. student and received B.A.’s in History and Photojournalism and B.S. in Psychology from Syracuse University. During undergrad, TJ worked as a research assistant in the Minority Stress & Trauma Lab at Syracuse under Dr. Jillian Scheer, studying stigma-related stress, trauma exposure, hazardous drinking, and PTSD, specifically in sexual and gender minority populations with a focus on sexual minority women. His research interests revolve around understanding the pathways to bidirectional intimate partner violence perpetration through mixed methods research. He is particularly focused on attachment insecurity, coping mechanisms, and substance use. TJ hopes to develop accessible interventions that target malleable mechanisms associated with intimate partner violence.

E-mail: tjshaw@vt.edu

Participant Information

We have several paid research studies that are ongoing. Please see below if you are interested in enrolling in one of our studies.

Current Research Projects

Alcohol & Stress Couples Study

This study is focused on the day-to-day experiences of people who are attracted to more than one gender or regardless of gender (e.g., bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, polysexual, queer, or others). We use "bi+" as an umbrella term throughout the study. We are interested in understanding how daily stress associates with alcohol use and relationship functioning among bi+ adults and their partners. 

Bi+ individuals and their partners may enroll in this virtual study and earn up to $115 each.

Participation involves:

1. Attending a 90-minute Zoom session during which you will complete a 60-minute online survey.

2. Completing 5-minute surveys daily for 60 days.

3. Your partner must also enroll in the study.

This study is in collaboration with researchers at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Our team includes researchers who identify as bi+ and our research is informed by previous research on bi+ individuals. 

Click here to enroll in the Alcohol & Stress Couples Study.


Breathalyzer Study:

The aim of the study is to better understand the behavioral and emotional experiences of people who are in current dating relationships, including substance use and how they handle conflict. This study involves three parts:

1.     First, participants will come to a 90-minute, in-person laboratory session at Virginia Tech to complete questionnaires, have a free app installed on their smartphone, and be assigned a portable breathalyzer.

2.     After the in-person session, participants will complete brief (less than 5 minute) surveys on their smartphone up to 5 times daily for 30 consecutive days. Four times per night, participants will be asked to submit a breath sample to a portable breathalyzer.

3.     After the 30-day period, participants will return for a final in-person laboratory session for approximately 20 minutes. During this final session, participants will complete a final survey, return their breathalyzer, and delete their smartphone app.

You can earn up to $335.00 for participating in this study.

Enrollment for this study will resume in August 2023. Please email VTalcoholstudy@gmail.com if you would like to enroll.


CBPR Study:

We are interested in interviewing adults who are in relationships who have been affected by alcohol use and relationship conflict. We want to learn about treatment needs, preferences, and barriers. Any information you discuss in your private interview will be kept strictly confidential. By participating in this study, you will earn $100. The interview will take 60-90 minutes to complete and can be completed in person or virtually using HIPAA-compliant Zoom. 


Click here to enroll in the CBPR Study.

Select Publications and Presentations

  • Brem, M. J., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Garner, A. R., Edwards, K. M., & Shorey, R. C. (In press). Alcohol use, discrimination, and psychological partner abuse among LGBQ+ college students: Results from a daily diary study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
  • Wolford-Clevenger, C., Mak, I., Botelho, E., Clark, K., & Brem, M. (In Press). External minority stress, gender dysphoria, and capability for suicide among transgender adults: A daily diary study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Ramsey, S. E., & Stuart, G. L. (in press). Randomized clinical trial examining the efficacy of a brief alcohol intervention as an adjunct to batterer intervention for women arrested for domestic violence. Psychosocial Intervention.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., McNulty, J., Elledge, L. C., Temple, J., & Stuart, G. L. (2022). Proximal associations among college students’ alcohol use and cyber partner abuse perpetration. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 36(7), 815-823. doi: 0.1037/adb0000818
  • Shorey, R. C., Brem, M. J., Kolp, H. M., Glozier, W. K., Norona, J., Baxley, C., Borsari, B., & Stuart, G. L. (2022). Recommendations for affirming brief motivational interventions for sexual minority college student drinking. Addiction Research & Theory, 30(1), 16-24. doi: 10.1080/16066359.2021.1922675
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., Elledge, L. C., & Temple, J. R. (2022). A longitudinal investigation of dating abuse victimization, alcohol use, and marijuana use among Latinx adolescents. Partner Abuse, 13(1), 1-16. doi: 10.1891/PA-2021-0013.
  • Garner, A. R., Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Hamlin, J., & Stuart, G. L. (2022). Negative urgency moderates the association between compulsive sexual behaviors and sending unsolicited sexts among men in residential treatment for substance use disorders. Computers in Human Behavior, 136, 107385. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2022.107385
  • Brem, M. J., Garner, A. R., Grigorian, H., Florimbio, A. R., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Shorey, R. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2021). Problematic pornography use and physical and sexual intimate partner violence perpetration among men in batterer intervention programs. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(11-12), NP6085-NP6105. doi: 10.1177/0886260518812806.
  • Weiss, N. H., Hogan, J., Brem, M., Massa, A. A., Kirby, C. M., & Flanagan, J. C. (2021). Advancing our understanding of the intersection between emotion regulation and alcohol and drug use problems: Dyadic analysis of couples with intimate partner violence and alcohol use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 228, 1-7.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2020). Dispositional mindfulness and aggression among adults in residential treatment for opioid use disorder: Preliminary findings from an applied setting. Violence and Victims, 35(6), 828-840. doi: 10.1891/VV-D-18-00036.
  • Brem, M. J., Stuart, G. L., Cornelius, T. L., & Shorey, R. C. (2019). A longitudinal examination of alcohol problems and cyber, psychological, and physical dating abuse: The moderating role of emotion regulation. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0886260519876029.
  • Brem, M. J., Romero, G., Garner, A. R., Grigorian, H., & Stuart, G. L. (2019). Alcohol problems, romantic jealousy, and cyber dating abuse perpetration among men and women: Towards a conceptual model. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0886260519873333.
  • Brem, M. J., Florimbio, A. R., Grigorian, H., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., Rothman, E. F., Temple, J. R., & Stuart, G. L. (2019). Cyber abuse among men arrested for domestic violence: Cyber monitoring moderates the relationship between alcohol problems and intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence, 9(4), 410-418. doi: 10.1037/vio0000130.
  • Brem, M. J., Khaddouma, A., Elmquist, J., Florimbio, A. R., Shorey, R. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2019). Relationships among dispositional mindfulness, distress tolerance, and women’s dating violence perpetration: A path analysis. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(14), 2996-3016. doi: 10.1177/0886260516664317.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2019). Exploring gender differences in the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and compulsive sexual behavior among adults in residential substance use treatment. Mindfulness, 10(8), 1592-1602. doi: 10.1007/s12671-019-01117-7.
  • Shorey, R. C., Stuart, G. L., Brem, M. J., & Parrott, D. J. (2018). Advancing an integrated theory of sexual minority alcohol-related intimate partner violence perpetration. Journal of Family Violence, 34(4), 357-364. doi: 10.1007/s10896-018-0031-z.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Rothman, E. F., Temple, J. R., & Stuart, G. L. (2018). Trait jealousy moderates the relationship between alcohol problems and intimate partner violence among men in batterer intervention programs. Violence Against Women, 24(10), 1132-1148. doi: 10.1177/1077801218781948.
  • Brem, M. J., Florimbio, A. R., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2018). Antisocial traits, distress tolerance, and alcohol problems as predictors of intimate partner violence in men arrested for domestic violence. Psychology of Violence, 8(1), 132-139. doi: 10.1037/vio0000088.
  • Brem, M. J., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Zapor, H., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., & Stuart, G. L. (2018). Dispositional mindfulness as a moderator of the relationship between perceived partner infidelity and women’s dating violence perpetration. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(2), 250-267. doi: 10.1177/0886260515604415.
  • Brem, M. J., Shorey, R. C., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G. L. (2017). Depression, anxiety, and compulsive sexual behavior among men in residential treatment for substance use disorders: The role of experiential avoidance. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 24, 1246-1253. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2085.
  • Temple, J. R., Choi, H. J., Brem, M. J., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Stuart, G. L., Peskin, M., & Elmquist, J. (2016). The temporal association between traditional and cyber dating abuse among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 340-349. doi: 10.1007/s10964-015-0380-3.
  • Brem, M. J., Spiller, L. C., & Vandehey, M. A. (2015). Online mate-retention tactics on Facebook are associated with relationship aggression. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30(16), 2831-2850. doi: 10.1177/0886260514554286.

Join Us

Information for potential graduate student applicants:

Dr. Brem will be recruiting a graduate student for the 2024-2025 academic year (applications due Dec. 1, 2023).

Learn more about the Clinical Science Ph.D. Program at Virginia Tech and instructions on how to apply.


Information for potential research assistant applicants:

If you are interested in being a Research Assistant within the REACH lab please email Dr. Brem at mbrem@vt.edu.