Samantha L. Tornello 

photo of Samantha Tornello

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

215 Health and Human Development Building
University Park PA 16802

814-865-2655

(fax) 814-863-7963

slt35@psu.edu

Research Interests

Dr. Tornello has three major research interests: Family, sexual orientation, and gender. The majority her work has focused on the role of family composition and parental sexual orientation and gender in the family system (children’s development, parental dynamics, and couple functioning). How do variations (e.g., pathways to parenthood or division of unpaid labor) and changes (e.g., divorce) in family composition relate to family members’ development and functioning? Specifically, for this area of work she is interested in the role and experiences of parents across gender and sexual orientation, as it relates to individual development within these differently designed families.
Dr. Tornello’s research also focuses on the experiences of becoming a parent among sexual and gender minority individuals. How do sexual and gender minority people decide to become parents and what methods do they use to create their families? How do these families function? What are the unique challenges, strengths, and issues among this population? How can we harvest the resiliency and minimize the risk impacting sexual and gender minority people and their families?
Dr. Tornello hopes that all areas of her research can add to knowledge as well as inform public debates about families, parenting, sexual orientation, gender, and children’s development. Dr. Tornello loves to mentor graduate and undergraduate students as research assistants and collaborators.
Contact her to learn more!

Current projects:


Gender Diverse Parents Study
The purpose of this worldwide longitudinal internet based study was to gain insight into the diversity of non-cisgender parents and their families. The goal of the study was to examine the many ways families headed by non-cisgender parents have been created, explore their children's development, and learn more about family functioning.
Check out the study's website: www.genderdiverseparents.com
Like the study on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GenderDiverseParents
Intended Parent Study
Collaboration with Dr. Henny Bos at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of young adults’ intention of becoming parents in the future and follow these families overtime. This study has completed the first and second wave (Summer 2017) of data collection!
Check out the study's website: www.IntendedParentStudy.com
Like the study on facebook: www.facebook.com/GenderDiverseParents
Gay and Bisexual Fathers Study
Collaboration with Dr. Charlotte Patterson at the University of Virginia
The purpose of this worldwide longitudinal internet based study was to gain insight into the diversity of gay/bisexual fathers and their families. The goal of the study was to examine the many ways families headed by gay/bisexual fathers have been created, explore how families function, learn about the relationship between partners, and see how all individuals within the family are developing. This study has had two waves of data collection with a third wave in the planning stages.

Like the study on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayBiDadsStudy

Education

Ph.D., 2014, Developmental and Community Psychology, University of Virginia
M.A., 2010, Developmental and Community Psychology, University of Virginia
M.A., 2005, General Psychology, Adelphi University
M.A., 2005, General Psychology, Adelphi University
B.A., 2003, Psychology, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Professional Experience

2017-present: Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University
2016: Examination Judge, College Board Advanced Placement Psychology Reader, Educational Testing Services
2014-2017: Assistant Professor of Psychology & Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona.
2008-2014: Teaching Assistant, University of Virginia
2012: Adjunct Lecturer, University of Virginia
2012: Adjunct Professor, Piedmont Virginia Community College
2008-2011: College Board Advanced Placement Psychology Reader, Educational Testing Services
2006-2008: Adjunct Lecturer, Learning Skills Specialist, & Psychology Tutor, Dowling College
2006-2008: Research Associate, Center for Essential Management

Professional Service:


2017-present: Co-chair, Curricular Integration Committee, Presidential Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity, Pennsylvania State University
2017-present: Appointed member, Presidential Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity, Pennsylvania State University
2016-2017: Affiliated member, Presidential Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona
2015-2017: Co-advisor to Undergraduate Student Pride Club (AKA Gay, Straight Alliance), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona
2015-2017: Moderator of the Undergraduate LGBTQA+ discussion groups, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona
2015-2016: Affiliate member, Presidential Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona
2014-2017: Member, Coalition on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona Representative

Selected Publications

Tornello, S. L., Ivanova, K., & Bos, H. M. W. (2017). Same-sex and mixed-sex couples in the Netherlands: Life satisfaction, relationship functioning, and conflict. Journal of Family Issues.

Riskind, R. G., & Tornello, S. L. (2017). Sexual orientation and future parenthood in a 2011-2013 nationally representative United States sample. Journal of Family Psychology.

Tornello, S. L., & Bos, H. M. W (2017). Parenting intentions among transgender individuals. LGBT Health, 4, 115-120. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2016.0153

Tornello, S. L. (2016). Mixed orientation marriages. In Abbie Goldberg (Ed.), Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Tornello, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2016). Gay grandfathers: Intergenerational relationships and mental health. Journal of Family Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/fam0000193

Farr, R. H., & Tornello, S. L. (2016). The transition to parenthood and early child development in families with same-sex parents. International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, 3, 17-22.

Tornello, S. L., Sonnenberg, B., & Patterson, C. J. (2015). Division of labor among gay fathers: Associations with parent, couple, and child adjustment. Journal of Psychology of  Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 2, 365-375. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000109

Tornello, S. L., Kruczkowski, S., & Patterson, C. J. (2015). Division of labor and relationship quality among male same-sex couples who became fathers via surrogacy. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 11, 375-394. doi: 10.1080/1550428X.2015.1018471

Tornello, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2015). Timing of parenthood and experiences of gay fathers: A life course perspective. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 11, 35-56. doi: 10.1080/1550428X.2013.878681

Riskind, R. G., Tornello, S. L., Younger, B. C., & Patterson, C. J. (2014). Sexual identity, partner sex, and sexual health among adolescent girls in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 104, 1957-1963

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Samantha Tornello vitae

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Contexts and Social Institutions
  • Populations of Special Interest