Thomas E. Trail

thomas trail, t0317
Behavioral Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in social psychology, Princeton University; B.S. in psychology, Virginia Tech


Thomas E. Trail is a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. Trail's research has focused on interpersonal relationships, including between spouses, friends, and group members. His particular focus is on how stress affects relationship processes and health outcomes. Recent research includes: investigating the relationship between risk and resilience factors among military couples; an evaluation of a web-based intervention for military spouses concerned about their service member's drinking; the potential impact of integrating women into combat roles on unit cohesion; and investigating the health and well-being of unpaid military caregivers and identifying gaps in the policies and programs that support them. Trail received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Princeton University and his M.S. in applied/experimental psychology from Virginia Tech.

Selected Publications

Karney, B. R. & Trail, T. E., "Associations between prior deployments and marital satisfaction among Army couples," Journal of Marriage and Family (forthcoming)

Jackson, G. L., Trail, T. E., Kennedy, D. P., Williamson, H. C., Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R., "The salience and severity of relationship problems among low-Income couples," Journal of Famly Psychology, 30:2-11, 2016

Trail, T. E., Meadows, S. O., Miles, J. N. V., & Karney, B. R., "Patterns of vulnerabilities and resources in U.S. military families," Journal of Family Issues, 2015

Osilla, K. C., Pedersen, E. R. Gore, K., Trail, T. E., & Stern, S. A., "Study design to develop and pilot-test a web intervention for partners of military service members with alcohol misuse," Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 9:1-9, 2014

Trail, T. E., Goff, P. A., Bradbury, T. N., & Karney, B. R., "The costs of racism for marriage: How racial discrimination hurts, and ethnic identity protects, newlywed marriages among Latinos," Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38:454–465, 2012

Trail, T. E. & Karney, B. R., "What's (not) wrong with low-income marriages," Journal of Marriage and Family, 74:413-427, 2012

Trail, T. E., Shelton, J. N., & West, T. V., "Daily interracial interactions and interpersonal behaviors," Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35:671-684, 2009


  • A soldier talking on a cell phone

    The Impact of Deployments on Military Marriages

    The evidence linking combat deployments directly to poorer marital functioning has been sparse and contradictory. Although marital satisfaction among military couples declined from 2003 to 2009, the divorce rate among them remained steady.

    Sep 2, 2016 Family Studies