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Justin Lavner

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Associate Professor
Director of Clinical Training, 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.



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:

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.

Lavner, J. A., Hohman, E. E., Beach, S. R. H., Stansfield, B. K., & Savage, J. S. (2023). Effects of a responsive parenting intervention among Black families on infants’ sleep: A secondary analysis of the Sleep SAAF randomized clinical trial. JAMA Network Open, 6, e236276. 

Lavner, J. A., Ong, M. L., Carter, S. E., Hart, A. R., & Beach, S. R. H. (2023). Racial discrimination predicts depressive symptoms throughout adolescence among Black youthDevelopmental Psychology, 59, 7–14.  

Adesogan, O., Lavner, J. A., Carter, S. E., & Beach, S. R. H. (2022). COVID-19 stress and the health of Black Americans in the rural South. Clinical Psychological Science, 10, 1111–1128.

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. 

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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