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Samantha Tornello
Samantha L. Tornello
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Dr. Tornello has three major research interests: Family, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The majority her work has focused on the role of family composition and parental sexual orientation and gender in the family system.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
  • Graduate Program
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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
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Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Phone
Fax
814-863-7963
Interests
  • Sexual/gender minority parents
  • Pathways to parenthood
  • Couple dynamics & family functioning
  • Division of labor
  • Children's development
  • Stigma & discrimination
Specializations
  • Determinants and Promotion of Well-being
  • Family Systems and Processes
  • Gender and Development
  • Health and Family Processes
  • Parenting, Parent-Child Relations, and Child Outcomes
  • Work and Family
  • Adulthood and Aging
Professional Experience

The majority of Dr. Tornello's 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!

Grants and Research Projects

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

Intended Parent Study:

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of young adults’ intention of becoming parents in the future and follow these future families overtime. This study has completed the first two waves of data collection with the third wave occurring in the summer of 2018/Fall 2018!

Check out the study’s website: www.IntendedParentStudy.com

Gay and Bisexual Fathers Study:

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, and learn about the relationship between partners.

Sexual Minority Stigma/Discrimination & Social Support Study

The purpose of this pilot study, framed by minority stress theory, will use semi-structured interviews and surveys to capture and understand how stigma/discrimination and social support experiences influence the well-being and functioning of same-sex female couples during the transition to parenthood and early childhood.