Samantha L. Tornello

Guilford College, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

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Publications (13)23.32 Total impact

  • Yueqin Hu · Yishan Xu · Samantha L Tornello
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined how sexual attraction varied across age, gender of participant, and gender of romantic partner, from adolescence to early adulthood. Comparisons between same-sex and both-sex attracted individuals were of particular interest. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth), we examined the responses of participants who reported experiencing same-sex attractions or both-sex attractions at least once within four waves (n = 1889). Results indicated that same-sex attractions became more stable over time, whereas both-sex attraction remained unstable even into adulthood. Compared with males, females were less stable in same-sex attraction, but more stable in both-sex attraction. The majority of people who reported same-sex attraction did not report having a same-sex romantic partner before they entered adulthood, and those who reported a same-sex romantic partner were more likely to maintain their same-sex attraction than those who did not. As males got older, the gender of their romantic partner tended to become more consistent with their sexual attraction. However, for females, the consistency between the gender of their romantic partner and sexual attraction did not change over time.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10508-015-0541-1 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Samantha L. Tornello · Stacy M. Kruczkowski · Charlotte J. Patterson
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the family lives of male same-sex couples who become fathers via surrogacy. In a study of 52 male same-sex couples who became parents through surrogacy, we examined couples’ reported division of unpaid labor, relationship quality, and the associations between these two factors. We found these men reported dividing both household and child care labor in an egalitarian manner. They also reported wanting this to be the case. Biological linkages between a father and child were not associated with couples’ reports about how unpaid labor was divided. These male same-sex couples reported high levels of relationship quality overall, but those who experienced greater discrepancies between actual and ideal division of labor reported lower relationship quality, specifically less affectional expression and less relationship agreement between the partners. Our results add to the limited empirical research about male same-sex couples who become parents via surrogacy.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 04/2015; 11(4):1-20. DOI:10.1080/1550428X.2015.1018471
  • Samantha L. Tornello · Bettina N. Sonnenberg · Charlotte J. Patterson
    01/2015; DOI:10.1037/sgd0000109
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: We examined associations between adolescent girls' sexual identity and the gender of their sexual partners, on one hand, and their reports of sexual health behaviors and reproductive health outcomes, on the other. Methods: We analyzed weighted data from pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (2005 and 2007) representative of 13 US jurisdictions, focusing on sexually experienced girls in 8th through 12th grade (weighted n=6879.56). We used logistic regression with hierarchical linear modeling to examine the strength of associations between reports about sexual orientation and sexual and reproductive health. Results: Sexual minority girls consistently reported riskier behaviors than did other girls. Lesbian girls' reports of risky sexual behaviors (e.g., sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol) and negative reproductive health outcomes (e.g., pregnancy) were similar to those of bisexual girls. Partner gender and sexual identity were similarly strong predictors of all of the sexual behaviors and reproductive health outcomes we examined. Conclusions: Many sexual minority girls, whether categorized according to sexual identity or partner gender, are vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health risks. Attention to these risks is needed to help sexual minority girls receive necessary services.
    American Journal of Public Health 08/2014; 104(10):e1-e7. DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302037 · 4.55 Impact Factor
  • Samantha L. Tornello · Charlotte J. Patterson
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    ABSTRACT: How have men become gay fathers and how have their decisions about parenthood shaped their experiences? In this study of 739 gay fathers from across the United States, we explored generational changes in timing of parenthood and its association with identity development, sexual orientation disclosure, and social support. In this sample, most men over 50 years of age, but only a minority of younger men, reported that they had fathered children in the context of heterosexual relationships. In contrast, few of those over 50, but most of the younger men, reported that children joined their family in the context of a same-sex relationship. Moreover, timing of parenthood was the strongest predictor of the fathers’ experiences of sexual identity development, disclosure, and social support. The findings are consistent with the idea that a generational shift is underway and that this shift has important implications for gay fathers’ experiences.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 07/2014; 11(1):35-56. DOI:10.1080/1550428X.2013.878681
  • Robert E. Emery · Samantha L. Tornello
    Journal of Marriage and Family 02/2014; 76(1). DOI:10.1111/jomf.12070 · 3.01 Impact Factor
  • Robert E Emery · Samantha L Tornello
    Journal of Marriage and Family 02/2014; 76(1):234-240. · 3.01 Impact Factor
  • Samantha L Tornello · Rachel G Riskind · Charlotte J Patterson
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    ABSTRACT: We studied sexual and reproductive health among self-identified bisexual, lesbian, and heterosexual adolescent young women. Prior research has suggested that bisexual and lesbian young women may be at greater risk for many negative health outcomes, including risky sexual and reproductive health behavior. Using data from the U.S. nationally representative 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we examined sexual and reproductive health among young women 15-20 years of age as a function of sexual orientation. We used logistic regression and ANCOVA to examine differences in sexual and reproductive health across groups while controlling for demographic group differences. Bisexual and lesbian young women reported elevated sexual and reproductive health risks. Bisexual and lesbian participants reported being younger at heterosexual sexual debut, and having more male and female sexual partners, than did heterosexual participants. Further, they were more likely than heterosexual young women to report having been forced to have sex by a male partner. Bisexual young women reported the earliest sexual debut, highest numbers of male partners, greatest use of emergency contraception, and highest frequency of pregnancy termination. Overall, sexual minority young women-especially those who identified as bisexual-were at higher sexual and reproductive risk than their heterosexual peers.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 10/2013; 54(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.08.018 · 3.61 Impact Factor
  • Samantha L. Tornello · Robert Emery · Jenna Rowen · Daniel Potter · Bailey Ocker · Yishan Xu
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    ABSTRACT: Large numbers of infants and toddlers have parents who live apart due to separation, divorce, or nonmarital/noncohabiting childbearing, yet this important topic, especially the controversial issue of frequent overnights with nonresidential parents, is understudied. The authors analyzed data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal investigation of children born to primarily low-income, racial/ethnic minority parents that is representative of 20 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000. Among young children whose parents lived apart, 6.9% of infants (birth to age 1) and 5.3% of toddlers (ages 1 to 3) spent an average of at least 1 overnight per week with their nonresident parent. An additional 6.8% of toddlers spent 35%–70% of overnights with nonresident parents. Frequent overnights were significantly associated with attachment insecurity among infants, but the relationship was less clear for toddlers. Attachment insecurity predicted adjustment problems at ages 3 and 5, but frequent overnights were not directly linked with adjustment problems at older ages.
    Journal of Marriage and Family 08/2013; 75(4). DOI:10.1111/jomf.12045 · 3.01 Impact Factor
  • Samantha L. Tornello · Suzanne M. Johnson · Elizabeth O’connor
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    ABSTRACT: What factors are associated with relationship quality among lesbian mothers in planned families? The purpose of this Internet-based study was to examine correlates of relationship quality among same-sex female couples with children. Participants in this cross-sectional study included 134 mothers who self-identified as lesbian and who currently reside in the United States. All participants were in a committed relationship with another woman, had created families within that relationship, had at least one child under the age of 18 residing in their home, and only one partner from each couple participated. Results indicated that younger maternal age, greater familial social support, less job-family role strain, and more positive sexual identity were related to greater self-reported relationship quality. In addition, mothers who reported greater internal homonegativity and greater sexual identity confusion also reported being more dissatisfied with their current romantic relationship.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 07/2013; 9(4):346-363. DOI:10.1080/1550428X.2013.801008
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    ABSTRACT: Social climate—specifically, the level of support for sexual minorities in a given locale—helps to explain well-being among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. No published reports have examined whether well-being also varies as a function of social climate for family members of LGB individuals. We present results from two studies (Study 1, n = 69; Study 2, n = 70) demonstrating that social climate predicts well-being among adults reared by LGB parents, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Across both studies, population characteristics (e.g., density of same-sex couples in an area) emerged as the strongest and most consistent predictors of well-being. Some variables assessing local politics (e.g., LGB hate crime policy) also predicted well-being, though these associations were less robust. Overall, findings suggest that the social environment for sexual minorities is an important correlate of psychological adjustment for many Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.
    Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC 06/2012; 9(2). DOI:10.1007/s13178-012-0081-6 · 0.72 Impact Factor
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    Samantha L. Tornello · Charlotte J. Patterson
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    ABSTRACT: Many gay men have become parents in the context of heterosexual relationships; ultimately, some separate from female partners while others stay with them. In this study, we compared the experiences of 110 formerly married gay fathers who were currently in relationships with men, 44 formerly married gay fathers who were currently single, and 14 gay fathers who remained married to women. In an Internet survey, we examined relationship satisfaction, parenting stress, sexual orientation disclosure, and gay identity among these men, all of whom had become fathers in the context of heterosexual relationships. Results showed that gay fathers who were currently married to women reported lower relationship satisfaction, affection, consensus, and lower overall dyadic adjustment in their current relationships. Formerly married gay fathers who were currently single or currently in relationships with male partners reported greater openness about their sexual identities than did still-married gay fathers. The men who were currently in relationships, however, did not report differences in relationship cohesion or parenting stress as a function of partners’ gender. In summary, self-identified gay men who were currently in relationships with women reported less openness about their sexual orientation and lower relationship satisfaction, but not more parenting stress than did formerly married gay fathers.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 01/2012; 8(1):85-98. DOI:10.1080/1550428X.2012.641373
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    Samantha L Tornello · Rachel H Farr · Charlotte J Patterson
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    ABSTRACT: The authors examined correlates of parenting stress among 230 gay adoptive fathers across the United States through an Internet survey. As with previous research on adoptive parents, results showed that fathers with less social support, older children, and children who were adopted at older ages reported more parenting stress. Moreover, gay fathers who had a less positive gay identity also reported more parenting stress. These 4 variables accounted for 33% of the variance in parenting stress; effect sizes were medium to large. Our results suggest the importance of social support and a positive gay identity in facilitating successful parenting outcomes among gay adoptive fathers.
    Journal of Family Psychology 06/2011; 25(4):591-600. DOI:10.1037/a0024480 · 1.89 Impact Factor