As an academic feminist social psychologist, my research broadly examines the social and psychological causes and consequences of sexism. Specifically, I explore how gender intersects with identities such as race and sexual orientation to affect individuals access to and experience with social power in (1) intimate partner relationships and (2) in the workplace.
In my work on intimate partner relationships I address questions such as “how does gender influence power dynamics in heterosexual relationships, such as who has control in early romantic and sexual interactions?” and “how do gender roles relate to dating violence?” In my research on the workplace I seek to answer questions like “how do stereotypes about gender and sexuality affect people’s access to power in organizations?” and “how do people decide to disclose stigmatized identities in the workplace, and what are the consequences of disclosure for women and men?”
To address these questions, I have used experimental, correlational, qualitative, and mixed methods among samples of diverse and underrepresented adolescents and adults from student and community groups. Intersectionality theory, sexual scripting, and social role theory feature prominently in my research, along with other established social psychological theories relevant to privilege and oppression (e.g., minority stress, the stereotype content model).
Gender, power, and intimate relationships
My first line of research examines gender and power dynamics in romantic relationships. In research with Dr. Dionne Stephens, we examine the meanings Black teens give to sexual coercion in romantic relationships, and how gender and cultural norms inform these meanings. More information about this research can be found here. I have also published work on how heteronormative beliefs may impact Hispanic men’s and women’s experiences with and attitudes towards sexual coercion. In collaboration with Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) I am investigating the risk factors for and consequences of non-consensual porn perpetration and victimization (aka “revenge porn”), especially in romantic relationships. Finally, I have published on the variety and content of the scripts young people are using in initial romantic encounters today and whether alternative scripts to traditional dates, such as hanging out and hooking up, are also heavily based on male power and gender role norms.
Gender, power, and the workplace
In my second line of research I am exploring interactions between gender and power in the workplace, including stereotyping, discrimination, and harassment at work on the basis of gender, race, and class. Some of my research has examined men and women entrepreneurs’ personalities and business goals in the U.S. I have also examined differences in and explanations for men’s and women’s different leadership trajectories at work. In work with Dr. Sam Paustian-Underdahl at FIU’s Business school we are examining the nature and effects of pregnancy disclosure experiences among heterosexual working couples in the U.S. With my graduate students, I am examining stereotypes about gay male employees and how those stereotypes affect beliefs about gay men’s suitability for masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral leadership positions. My graduate students and I are also examining the effects of gender and race stereotypes on the success of post-doc applicants in STEM. Finally, my graduate students and I are examining how organizational policies affect bystander’s willingness to report workplace sexual harassment.