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Justin Lavner

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Associate Professor
Clinical Program

I am a clinical psychologist whose research aims to understand and improve family health and well-being, particularly among underserved and marginalized populations. My work examines (1) how and why relationships change; (2) the effects of minority and contextual stressors such as racial discrimination, financial strain, and sexual stigma on individual and family functioning and the protective factors that buffer these effects; and (3) preventive interventions to strengthen relational, physical, and mental health among couples and families. I recently completed the Sleep SAAF (Strong African American Families) study, a randomized controlled trial for first-time Black mothers and their newborn infants that aimed to reduce early health inequities and advance understanding of family dynamics and health during the perinatal period. I am also interested in issues relating to LGBTQ families.

I plan on accepting a new graduate student for Fall 2023. My lab is currently focused on topics related to the Sleep SAAF randomized controlled trial, the transition to parenthood, health inequities, minority and contextual stress and resilience, and couple and family dynamics and interventions. Students with strong research experiences and interests in studying any of these areas are likely to find the lab a good fit for them. The lab is highly collaborative, student affirming, and inclusive.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

B.A., Williams College

Research Interests:

Couple and family relationships, prevention/intervention, health inequities, minority and contextual stress, LGBTQ issues

Selected Publications:

Adesogan, O., Lavner, J. A., Carter, S. E., & Beach, S. R. H. (in press). COVID-19 stress and the health of Black Americans in the rural South. Clinical Psychological Science.

Petruzzella, A., Allan, T., & Lavner, J. A. (in press). Gay men’s engagement with a gay campground community in the rural Southern United States. Leisure Sciences.

Johnson, M. D., Lavner, J. A., Muise, A., Mund, M., Neyer, F. J., Park, Y., Harasymchuk, C., & Impett, E. A. (2022). Women and men are the barometers of relationships: Testing the predictive power of women’s and men’s relationship satisfaction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119, e2209460119.

Kanter, J. B., Lavner, J. A., Lannin, D. G., Hilgard, J., & Monk, J. K. (2022). Does couple communication predict later relationship quality and dissolution? A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 84, 533–551.

Lavner, J. A., Savage, J. S., Stansfield, B. K., Beach, S. R. H., Marini, M. E., Smith, J. J., Sperr, M. C., Anderson, T. N., Hernandez, E., Moore, A. M., Caldwell, A. L., & Birch, L. L. (2022). Effects of the Sleep SAAF responsive parenting intervention on rapid infant weight gain: A randomized clinical trial of African American families. Appetite, 175, 106080. 

Hart, A. R., Lavner, J. A., Carter, S. E., & Beach, S. R. H. (2021). Racial discrimination, depressive symptoms, and sleep problems among Blacks in the rural South. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 27, 123–134.

Lavner, J. A., Barton, A. W., Adesogan, O., & Beach, S. R. H. (2021). Family-centered prevention buffers the effect of financial strain on parenting interactions, reducing youth conduct problems in African American families. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 89, 783–791.

Lavner, J. A., Barton, A. W., & Beach, S. R. H. (2020). Direct and indirect effects of a couple-focused preventive intervention on children’s outcomes: A randomized controlled trial with African American families. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 88, 696–707. 

Articles Featuring Justin Lavner

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