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Justin Lavner

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

I am clinical psychologist whose research aims to understand and improve family health and well-being, particularly among underserved and marginalized populations. My work focuses on (1) understanding how and why relationships change; (2) the effects of 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) developing preventive interventions to strengthen relational, physical, and mental health among couples and families. 

I recently completed a 4-year grant from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) testing two interventions for first-time African American mothers and their newborn infants. This randomized controlled trial (Sleep SAAF) aims to advance our understanding of family dynamics and health during the perinatal period and represents an important step in efforts to reduce health disparities among African American families.

I am on leave for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

B.A., Williams College

Research Interests:

Couple and family relationships, prevention/intervention, health disparities, LGBT 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.

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

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(9), 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. 

Lavner, J. A., Williamson, H. C., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2020). Premarital parenthood and newlyweds’ marital trajectories. Journal of Family Psychology, 34, 279–290. 

Lavner, J. A., Stansfield, B. K., Beach, S. R. H., Brody, G. H., & Birch, L. L. (2019). Sleep SAAF: A responsive parenting intervention to prevent excessive weight gain and obesity among African American infants. BMC Pediatrics, 19, 224.

Petruzzella, A., Feinstein, B. A., & Lavner, J. A. (2019). Sexual orientation-related stigma and relationship functioning among female same-sex couples. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 23, 439–450.

Of note:

I will not be admitting a new graduate student for Fall 2022 but plan on accepting a new graduate student for Fall 2023.

Articles Featuring Justin Lavner

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