» Dr. Brennan Peterson
Associate Professor, Program Chair, Marriage and Family Therapy Program

Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy
Dr. Brennan Peterson
Office Location:
Crean Hall 140 ( 501 W. Palm Ave)
Office Hours:
Monday: 8:00am-10:00am; Wednesday 8:00am-10:00am (Spring 2016)
(714) 744-7915
Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Master of Science in Human Development
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ph.D. in Human Development

Dr. Peterson began teaching at Chapman in 2003.  In addition to teaching undergraduate courses, he serves as the Program Director for the school's graduate grogram in Marriage and Family Therapy. He teaches courses in Family Therapy, Marital Therapy and Domestic Violence, Life-Span Development, Marital and Family Diversity, and clinical supervisor.

Dr. Peterson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in the state of California and Utah.  Dr. Peterson received his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech in 2003, and his Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech's Northern Virginia Graduate Center in 2001. He received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University in 1995. Between 1995 and 2000, Dr. Peterson worked for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Washington, D.C., where he helped develop a nationwide practice-based network.

Dr. Peterson studies how couples cope with infertility and has published articles in Human Reproduction, Fertility and Sterility, Family Process, Family Relations, The Family Journal, The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy and Cognitive and Behavioral Practice.


  • PSY 355 Diversity in Marital and Family Relationships
  • PSY 556 Family Systems and Studies
  • PSY 561 Couple Therapy
  • PSY 610 Family Life Cycle and Aging
  • PSY 694 Clinical Supervision


Dr. Peterson researches the mental health implications of infertility including couple coping processes and fertility awareness issues.  He is a member of the Copenhagen Multi-Centre Psychosocial Infertility (COMPI) Research Program at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.  He also collaborates with researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, the London Health Sciences Centre in Canada, and with the members of the Special Interest Group in Psychology and Counseling of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).  He has delivered numerous national and international presentations on his infertility research in the United States, Europe, and China, and he has published articles in Human Reproduction, Fertility & Sterility, Family Process, Family Relations, Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, Contemporary Family Therapy, The Family Journal, and the Journal of Personal and Social Relationships.

Selected Presentations:

Peterson, B.D. (2012).  Invited Presentation - Fertility Awareness and Parenting Intentions of U.S. Undergraduate Students.  1st Annual International Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Guangzhou, China. 

Matins, M.V., Peterson, B.D., Costa, P., Costa, M.E., Lund, R. & Schmidt, L. (2012). Infertility disclosure moderates the relationship between social support and fertility stress in patients following unsuccessful treatments. 28th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), Istambul, Turkey.

Pirritano, M., Peterson, B.D., & Schmidt, L.  (2011).  A typology of coping in couples undergoing fertility treatments.  5th Meeting of theCopenhagen Multi-Centre Psychosocial Infertility (COMPI) Research Program, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. 

Peterson, B.D. (2010).  Invited Presentation - Using typical gender differences as a resource in couple counseling.  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Symposium - Raising Competence in Psychosocial Care. Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

Martins, M.V, Costa, M.E., Almeida, V., & Peterson, B.D.  (2010).  Effects of perceived social support and coping strategies on infertility stress in women:  Testing for mediation using structural equation modeling.  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) 26th Annual Meeting, Rome, Italy.

Peterson, B.D., Pirritano, M., Christensen, U., Boivin, J., Block, J., & Schmidt, L. (2009).  The longitudinal impact of partner coping in couples following five years of unsuccessful fertility treatments.  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) 25thAnnual Meeting, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Peterson, B.D., Pirritano, M. (2009).  Martial Benefits and It's Impact on Coping and Stress in a Longitudinal Study of Couples Undergoing Five-Years of Unsuccessful fertility treatments. Copenhagen Multi-Centre Psychosocial Infertility (COMPI) Research Program, Universityof Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Peterson, B.D., Eifert, G.H., Feingold, T., & Davidson, S. (2009).  Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to treat distressed couples: A case study with two couples. Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 43rd Annual Meeting.  New York, NY.

Peterson, B.D., & Pirritano, M. (2008).  The impact of partner coping in couples experiencing infertility - baseline analysis.  Copenhagen Multi-Centre PsychosocialInfertility(COMPI) Research Program, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Peterson, B.D., Newton, C.R., Feingold, T. (2007).  Anxiety and sexual stress in men and women undergoing infertility treatment.  American Society for ReproductiveMedicine (ASRM)  Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.


Clinical Science Award (2009).  European Society for Human Reproductive and Embryology's Annual Meeting (ESHRE) - Amsterdam.  Presented to the Top Oral Presentation at the International Medical Annual Meeting.  The longitudinal impact of partner coping in couples following5 years of unsuccessful fertility treatments.

Prize Paper: American Society for Reproductive Medicine's (ASRM) Mental Health Professional Group (MHPG).  October 2001, Orlando, Florida.  Examining the congruence between couples' infertility-related stress and its relationship to depression and marital adjustment in infertile menand women. 

Chapman University Achievement Awards for Excellence in Scholarly Activity (2010 & 2011).  Presentedat the Annual Faculty Awards Ceremony, May 2010 & 2011.  Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Professional Service

Reviewer for 22 Peer-Reviewed Journals including:

Social Science and Medicine

Human Reproduction

Fertility and Sterility

Journal of Health Psychology

British Journal of Health Psychology

Psychology and Health

Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology

Women and Health

Professional Memberships

European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)

     - Psychology and Counseling Special Interest Group

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
Peterson, B. (2015). Fertility counseling for couples. In Fertility counseling: Clinical guide and case studies. S. Covington, Ed. Cambridge University Press, pg. 60-74.
Petersen, G., Belnstrup, L.T., Peterson, B.D., Knudsen, L.B., & Schmidt, L. (2015). Childlessness’ impact on life among infertile couples and attitudes towards continuation of medically assisted reproduction and/or adoption. Human Fertility, 18, 121-127.
Chan, C., Chan, T., Peterson, B., Lampic, C., Tam, M. (2015). Intentions and attitudes towards parenthood and fertility awareness among Chinese university students in Hong Kong: A comparison with Western samples. Human Reproduction, 30, 364-372.
Greil, A.L., Schmidt, L., & Peterson, B.D. (2014). Understanding and treating adjustment to infertility. The Oxford Handbook of Perinatal Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pages 1-30. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780 199778072.013.007
Martins, M.V., Costa, P., Peterson, B.D., Costa, M.E., & Schmidt, L. (2014). Marital stability and repartnering: infertility-related stress trajectories of unsuccessful fertility treatment. Fertility & Sterility, 102, 1716-1722.
Martins, M.V., Peterson, B.D., Costa, P., Costa, M.E., Lund, R. & Schmidt, L. (2013). Interactive effects of social support and disclosure on fertility-related stress. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 71-88.
Martins, M. V., Peterson, B, D., Almeida, V., Mesquita-Guimarães, J. & Costa, M.E. (2013). Dyadic dynamics of perceived social support in couples facing infertility. Human Reproduction, 23, 83-90.
Peterson, B.D., Sejbaek, C., Pirritano, M., & Schmidt, L. (2013). Are severe depressive symptoms associated with infertility-related distress in individuals and their partners? Human Reproduction, 29, 76-82.
Martins, M.V., Costa, M.E., Almeida, V.M. & Peterson, B.D. (2012). Direct and indirect effects of infertility coping strategies on infertility sexual stress. In Psicologia da saúde: desafios à promoção da saúde em doenças crónicas, ed. J. L. Pais Ribeiro, I. Leal, A. Pereira and S. Monteiro, 177 - 183. ISBN: 978-989-8463-30-2. Lisboa: Placebo Editora.
Peterson, B.D., Boivin, J., Norre, J., Smith, C., Thorn, P., & Wischmann, T. (2012). An introduction to infertility counseling: A guide for mental health and medical professionals. Journal of Reproduction and Genetics. Doi 10.1007/s10815-011-9701.
Peterson, B.D., Pirritano, M., Tucker, L., & Lampic. (2012). Fertility awareness and parenting attitudes among American male and female undergraduate university students. Human Reproduction, 27, 1375-1382.
Peterson, B.D. & Eifert, G.H. (2011). Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to treat infertility stress. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 18, 577-587.
Martins, M.V., Peterson, B.D., Almeida, V., & Costa, M.E. (2011). Direct and indirect effects of perceived social support on women’s infertility-stress. Human Reproduction, 26, 2113-2121.
Peterson, B.D., Pirritano, M., Block, J., & Schmidt, L. (2011). Marital benefit and coping strategies in men and women undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments over a 5-year period. Fertility & Sterility, 95, 1759-1763.
Sheridan-Walsh, M.A., Peterson, B.D., & Rosen, K.H. (2010). The experiences of parents of adolescents in family therapy: A qualitative investigation. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36, 144-157.