headshot photo of Dr. Brennan Peterson

Dr. Brennan Peterson

Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology
Expertise: Fertility Awareness; Fertility Preservation; Fertility Counseling; Couples; Coping; Oocyte Cryopreservation;
Office Location: Crean Hall 140 ( 501 W. Palm Ave)
Office Hours: Wed 8:00am-9:00am, 11:00am-2:00pm, 3:00pm-5:00pm (Fall 2017)
Phone: (714) 744-7915
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
Brigham Young University, Bachelor of Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Master of Science
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ph.D.


Dr. Brennan Peterson began teaching at Chapman in 2003 and studies how couple cope with infertility, as well as effective counseling interventions for couples experiencing fertility treatment. He also examines fertility awareness and attitudes towards oocyte cryopreservation among university students and physicians. He has published his work in a large number of journals including Human Reproduction and Fertility & Sterility, and has delivered presentations in the United States, Europe, and Asia.


  • PSY 355 Diversity in Marital and Family Relationships
  • MFT 541 Marriage and Family Therapy Theories I
  • MFT 556 Marriage and Family Therapy Theories II
  • MFT 561 Couple Therapy
  • MFT 610 Family Life Cycle and Aging
  • MFT 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 Yale University Medical School, the University of Porto in Portugal, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, Uppsala University in Sweden, the London Health Sciences Centre in Canada, the University of Hong Kong, and with the members of the Special Interest Group in Psychology and Counseling of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).

Selected Presentations:

Peterson, B. (2017).  Fertility knowledge and awareness among obstetricians and gynecologists.  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Annual Meeting Pre-Congress: Fertility Awareness: What role does it play in preventing infertility.  Geneva, Switzerland. 

Peterson, B.  (2016).  Using gender differences as a resource in fertility counseling for couples.  European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) Campus Workshop:  Basic training for infertility counseling: Moving from theory to practice.  Vienna, Austria. 

Peterson, B., Yu, L., Boehm, J., Hodgson, A., Inhorn, M., & Patrizio, P. (2016).  Initiating patient discussions about oocyte cryopreservation: Attitudes of obstetrics and gynecology resident physicians.  3rd European Congress on Preconception Health and Care, Uppsala, Sweden.

Peterson, B. (2015).  Fertility counseling for couples.  Infertility in Global Perspective: Psychosocial aspects in research and clinical practice, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.  

Peterson, B.D., Sejbaek, C., Pirritano, M., & Schmidt, L.  (2014). Severe depressive symptoms predict individual and partner infertility-related distress at one-year follow-up.  Presented at the 30th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, Munich, Germany.

Peterson, B.D., Sejbaek, C., Pirritano, M., & Schmidt, L. (2013).  Depressive symptoms and infertility: Actor and partner effects.  5th Meeting of the Copenhagen Multi-Centre Psychosocial Infertility (COMPI) Research Programme.  University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Peterson, B.D., Pirritano, M., Schmidt, L. (2013).  A typology of coping in couples undergoing infertility treatments.  29th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, London, England.

Peterson, B.D. (2012).  Family Planning Intentions and Fertility Awareness and U.S. Undergraduates.  1st Annual International Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics Advances in Women’s Health. Guangzhou, China.

Peterson, B.D. (2010). 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. 

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.  25th Annual Meeting European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).  Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Peterson, B. D., Pirritano, M., Christensen, U., & Schmidt, L. (2008).  The impact of partner coping in couples experiencing infertility.  American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 64th Annual Meeting, San Francisco.

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.

Peterson, B. D., Newton, C. R., Rosen, K. H., & Skaggs, G. E. (2005).  How men and women referred for in vitro fertilization cope with infertility stress.  American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 61st Annual Meeting.  Montreal, Canada.

Peterson, B. D., Newton, C. R., Rosen, K. H., & Schulman, R. S. (2004).  Dyadic coping processes of infertile couples and their relationship to infertility stress, marital adjustment, and depression.  American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 60th Annual Meeting.  Philadelphia, PA.

Awards and Honors

Clinical Science Award (2009).  European Society for Human Reproductive and Embryology's Annual Meeting (ESHRE) - Amsterdam.  Presented to the Top Oral Presentation.  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. 

Human Reproduction Outstanding Reviewer (2013). Presented at the top 10% of the journal's reviewers for excellent contributions to the journal as judged by the quality and timeliness of their reviews. Oxford University Press.

Professional Service

Reviewer for 40 Peer-Reviewed Journals including:
Social Science and Medicine
Human Reproduction
Fertility and Sterility

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Peterson, B. D. & Hodgson, A. (in press). Using an integrative body-mind-spirit approach in couple counseling. In M. Y. Lee, S. Ng, P. P. Y Leung, and C. L. W. Chan (Eds.), Integrative body-mind-spirit social work: An empirically-based approach to assessment and treatment (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Peterson, B. (in press). A validated measure for fertility awareness: an essential step towards informed reproductive decision-making. Fertility & Sterility.
Yu, L., Peterson, B., Inhorn, M. C., Boehm, J. K., & Patrizio, P. (2016). Knowledge, attitudes, and intentions toward fertility awareness and oocyte cryopreservation among obstetrics and gynecology resident physicians. Human Reproduction, 31, 403-411.
Martins, M. V., Basto-Pereira, M., Pedro, J., Peterson, B., Almeida, V., Schmidt, L., & Costa, M. E. (2016). Male psychological adaptation to unsuccessful medically assisted reproduction treatments: A systematic review. Human Reproduction Update.
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.