Justin Lavner

Justin Lavner
University of Georgia | UGA · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

80
Publications
22,029
Reads
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1,616
Citations
Introduction
Justin Lavner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia.
Additional affiliations
August 2014 - present
University of Georgia
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (80)
Article
This article discusses how sexual orientation-based stigma serves to undermine functioning in female same-sex relationships. We particularly focus on the unique roles of interpersonal stigma (e.g., victimization, microaggressions) and structural stigma (e.g., institutional forms of discrimination), highlighting critical limitations and gaps in this...
Article
Objective: This study examined the effects of the Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) prevention program on children's outcomes more than 2 years after enrollment, including direct effects of the intervention and indirect effects through couple functioning and parent-child relations. Method: Three hundred forty-six African Amer...
Article
Objective Black youth experience racial discrimination at high rates. This study sought to further understand the longitudinal effects of racial discrimination on their mental health by examining cross-lagged associations between perceived racial discrimination and depressive symptoms at the between-person (interindividual) level and the within-per...
Article
Objective: This study examined whether a family-focused prevention program for African American families could buffer the negative effect of perceived financial strain on protective parent-child interactions and thereby reduce the indirect effect of financial strain on youth conduct problems. Method: Three hundred and forty-six African American...
Article
To estimate the overall effect between positive and negative communication behaviors and later relationship quality and dissolution. Behavioral models of relationship development argue that the quality of couples' communication is key to understanding later relational outcomes. However, longitudinal studies have yielded inconsistent associations be...
Article
Experiences of racial discrimination are common among Black youth and predict worse mental health cross-sectionally and over time. Additional research is needed to address lingering questions regarding the direction of effect(s) underlying these patterns, differences in the magnitude of effects across adolescence, and gender differences. To address...
Article
There is a longstanding belief in relationship science and popular opinion that women are the barometers in mixed-gender relationships such that their perceptions about the partnership carry more weight than men’s in predicting future relationship satisfaction, but this idea has yet to be rigorously tested. We analyze data from two studies to test...
Article
Although sexual satisfaction is a defining feature of marriage, research has consistently found that sexual satisfaction declines over time. Recently, however, emerging findings provide a more optimistic perspective on sexual satisfaction development by suggesting that couples may follow diverse sexual satisfaction trajectories. Using Dyadic Latent...
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Full-text available
The health benefits of breast milk feeding have been well-established, yet disparities exist, with African American mothers having the lowest breast milk feeding rates in the United States. This prospective, longitudinal study examined infant feeding (breast milk and/or infant formula) from birth to age 16 weeks, predictors of any breast milk feedi...
Article
Responsive parenting (RP) interventions reduce rapid infant weight gain but their effect for underserved populations is largely unknown. The Sleep SAAF (Strong African American Families) study is a two-arm randomized clinical trial for primiparous African American mother-infant dyads that compares an RP intervention to a child safety control over t...
Article
The present study was designed to examine the complex bidirectional associations between relationship quality and depressive symptoms among African American couples. Informed by the Marital Discord Model, particular attention was devoted to understanding the unique associations of positive and negative dimensions of relationship functioning with de...
Article
We expand upon prior work (Gibbons et al., 2012) relating childhood stressor effects, particularly harsh childhood environments, to risky behavior and ultimately physical health by adding longer-term outcomes – deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation-based measures of accelerated aging (DNA m -aging). Further, following work on the effects of early...
Article
Despite considerable literature documenting associations between relationship functioning and depressive symptoms, there has been relatively little direct examination of this association among African American couples. Likewise, little research has investigated factors that may exacerbate this association. The current study addressed this gap by in...
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Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To better understand changes in and predictors of their mental and physical health, in the current study, we used three waves of data (two prepandemic and a third during summer 2020) from 329 Black men and women in the rural South. Results indicated that health worsened...
Article
Black adults in the rural South experience elevated financial strain and other contextual stressors, increasing their risk for poor health. Supportive relationships, particularly positive romantic relationships, have been shown to offset these risks. The present study aims to provide experimental evidence of the buffering effect of supportive relat...
Preprint
Jonason and Luoto (2021) examined group differences in Dark Triad (DT) traits across sexual orientations and interpreted their results as indicative of higher levels of Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism among sexual minority individuals. We address three ways in which this work lacks methodological rigor: (1) analytic decisions, (2) mea...
Article
To inform research and practice with distressed couples, the current study was designed to examine patterns of change among distressed, help-seeking couples prior to receiving an intervention. Data from this study originate from 221 couples assigned to the waitlist control condition of a randomized controlled trial for couples seeking online help f...
Article
Consistent with the emotional cycle of deployment, postdeployment reintegration is often a time of highs and lows as service members (SMs) and their families adjust to their new normal. However, few studies have considered the nuances of reintegration, specifically the various patterns of personal and family reintegration experiences that may exist...
Article
Objective To examine associations between objective (i.e., rank, time away for deployment, combat deployments) and subjective (i.e., difficulty coping with military life) military-related stressors and multiple domains of family well-being, including marital interactions, marital quality, parenting quality, and family functioning. Background Milit...
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Full-text available
Relationship science contends that the quality of couples’ communication predicts relationship satisfaction over time. Most studies testing these links have examined between-person associations, yet couple dynamics are also theorized at the within-person level: For a given couple, worsened communication is presumed to predict deteriorations in futu...
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The adverse impact of racial discrimination on youth, and particularly its impact on the development of depressive symptoms, has prompted attention regarding the potential for family processes to protect youth from these erosive effects. Evidence from non-experimental studies indicates that protective parenting behavior (PPB) which occurs naturally...
Article
This study examined the effects of the Protecting Strong African American Families (ProSAAF) prevention program on adults' self-reported health outcomes 25 months after enrollment. ProSAAF is a couple-focused prevention program specifically designed to meet the needs of African-American families residing in the rural South. African-American couples...
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Full-text available
Gay men experience various stressors, including gay-specific stressors such as discrimination and internalized homonegativity as well as general stressors such as occupational and financial strain. While a robust literature has examined how gay-specific stressors are associated with negative mental health outcomes among gay men, less attention has...
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On 26 May, 2019, the nutrition community lost a visionary ambassador, trusted advisor, and cherished mentor. Leann Birch was a pioneer in bringing a developmental psychology perspective to the study of children's nutrition as a means to respond to real-world questions raised by parents. Leann Elsie Traub was born in Owosso, Michigan 25 June, 1946....
Article
Objectives: Experiences of racial discrimination are common for Black Americans and have been associated with depression and sleep disturbance, factors likely involved in the insidious development of health disparities. The current study replicates these associations and examines longitudinal linkages. Method: Black American couples (men: N = 24...
Article
Family-centered prevention programs for couples with children are being increasingly disseminated, with the hope that improving couples’ romantic relationships will lead to other benefits for families. To date, however, it is unclear whether these interventions do in fact yield these benefits. The current study addressed this gap by examining wheth...
Article
This study examined positive affect (PA) trajectories over the first year of life among infants of mothers with a history of depression (N = 191) as well as predictors (i.e., maternal prenatal and postpartum depression symptoms, maternal parenting behaviors) of those trajectories. Infant PA was observed in play and feeding tasks during laboratory v...
Article
An increasing number of couples in the United States are entering their first marriage having already had a child together, raising important questions about whether and how these couples' marriages differ from newlywed couples who enter marriage without children. The current study used 5 waves of data collected over the first 4.5 years of marriage...
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Couples’ marital satisfaction is thought to decline over the newlywed years, but recent research indicates that the majority of spouses have high, stable trajectories during this period, and significant declines occur only among initially dissatisfied spouses. These findings are drawn from predominantly White, middle-class samples, however, which m...
Article
This study examines the ways in which collecting data from individuals versus couples affects the characteristics of the resulting sample in basic research studies of romantic relationships. From a nationally representative sample of 1,294 individuals in a serious romantic relationship, approximately half of whom were randomly selected to invite th...
Article
The current study examined trajectories of relationship confidence, defined as the belief that oneself and the partner together have the skills needed to navigate conflict and maintain a partnership into the future. This study uses data from a sample of 1,294 partnered but unmarried young adults to examine trajectories of relationship confidence ac...
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Full-text available
Background: Responsive parenting interventions that shape parenting behaviors in the areas of sleep and soothing, appropriate and responsive feeding, and routines represent a promising approach to early obesity prevention and have demonstrated effectiveness in our previous trials. However, this approach has yet to be applied to the populations mos...
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Full-text available
Sexual minorities are exposed to various gay-related and general stressors that increase risk of mental and physical health problems. Yet, less attention has been paid to positive factors such as ameliorative coping strategies and social supports that reduce risk of mental health difficulties in this population. The current study sought to address...
Article
Researchers often seek to synthesize results of multiple studies on the same topic to draw statistical or substantive conclusions and to estimate effect sizes that will inform power analyses for future research. The most popular synthesis approach is meta‐analysis. There have been few discussions and applications of other synthesis approaches. This...
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Full-text available
Adults with autism and subclinical autistic traits report greater internalizing problems than their peers, but the psychological processes underlying these associations are not well understood. The current study used structural equation modeling to examine whether social experiences (social connectedness and loneliness) mediate the link between aut...
Poster
Broader autism phenotype in relation to emotion dysregulation and the role of positive parenting
Article
Racial discrimination is a common stressor for African Americans, with negative consequences for mental and physical well-being. It is likely that these effects extend into the family, but little research has examined the association between racial discrimination and couple functioning. This study used dyadic data from 344 rural, predominantly low-...
Article
1 Objective This study examined baseline child social and emotional functioning as predictors of therapeutic alliance during a cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) program for children with anxiety disorders. It was hypothesized that better social and emotional functioning at baseline would be related to stronger alliance initially and over the cours...
Article
This study investigated (a) the stress spillover pathways linking contextual stressors, changes in couple relationship functioning and depressive symptoms, and changes in individuals’ physical health, and (b) the stress-buffering effect of participation in an efficacious, family centered prevention program designed to protect couples from the delet...
Article
For the past two decades, policymakers have invested heavily in promoting the quality and stability of intimate relationships in low-income communities. To date, these efforts have emphasized relationship-skills education, but large-scale evaluations of these programs indicate that they have produced negligible benefits. Current policies are limite...
Article
Intimate partner aggression is common in dissatisfied relationships, yet it remains unclear whether intimate partner aggression is a correlate of relationship satisfaction, whether it predicts or follows from relationship satisfaction over time, or whether longitudinal associations are in fact bidirectional in nature. The present study evaluates th...
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Background Previous RCTs to prevent early rapid weight gain were conducted in predominantly White, well-educated, middle-income mother-infants at low risk for obesity. To inform the design of an RCT in a higher-risk sample, we conducted a short-term, longitudinal study to compare maternal feeding beliefs and behaviors, infant sleep, intake, and gro...
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The early years of marriage are a time of significant personal and relational changes as partners adjust to their new roles, but the specific ways that spouses’ personalities may change in early marriage and how these changes are associated with spouses’ marital satisfaction trajectories have been overlooked. Using 3 waves of data collected over th...
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Individuals are generally attracted to other people with similar personality traits, but it is unclear whether these patterns replicate for maladaptive personality traits. Accordingly, we examined the association between individuals’ own maladaptive personality traits and how desirable they found those traits in a potential romantic partner (N = 33...
Article
Enhancing communication as a means of promoting relationship quality has been increasingly questioned, particularly for couples at elevated sociodemographic risk. In response, the current study investigated communication change as a mechanism accounting for changes in relationship satisfaction and confidence among 344 rural, predominantly low-incom...
Article
Although many studies have found that higher workloads covary with lower levels of marital satisfaction, the question of whether workloads may also predict changes in marital satisfaction over time has been overlooked. To address this question, we investigated the lagged association between own and partner workload and marital satisfaction using ei...
Article
Narcissism is associated with dysfunction in interpersonal relationships. Empirically, limited information is available about how narcissism affects observed interactions in romantic relationships. In this study, we employed dyadic data analyses to investigate the effects of narcissism on relationship functioning. Young adult couples (N = 54 couple...
Article
Given that psychopathy is composed in large part by an antagonistic relational approach and is associated with many troubling interpersonally relevant outcomes, its role in romantic functioning warrants greater attention. The current study used data from a community sample of 172 newlywed couples to examine spouses' psychopathic traits in relation...
Article
Prevailing views of marital functioning generally adopt the view that marital problems predict decreases in marital satisfaction, but alternative theoretical perspectives raise the possibility that lowered satisfaction can also predict increases in problems. The current study sought to integrate and compare these perspectives by examining the bidir...
Article
There has been increased interest in and attention to understanding the characteristics associated with relationship satisfaction among same-sex couples. This review examines the individual, couple, and external factors associated with relationship satisfaction among contemporary lesbian couples, highlighting domains such as internalized homophobia...
Article
Despite the relationship of impulsivity with interpersonal dysfunction, including romantic relationship dysfunction, surprisingly little research has examined the degree to which impulsivity predicts how marriages unfold over time. The current study used data from 172 newlywed couples to examine spouses' impulsivity in relation to their 4-year traj...
Article
Prior research has identified associations between alexithymia, psychological symptoms, marital functioning and life satisfaction. However, less is known about the specific dynamics in the interplay of these associations, and other research suggests that such associations may differ depending on gender. The goal of this study is to investigate gend...
Article
The quality of communication between spouses is widely assumed to affect their subsequent judgments of relationship satisfaction, yet this assumption is rarely tested against the alternative prediction that communication is merely a consequence of spouses' prior levels of satisfaction. To evaluate these perspectives, newlywed couples' positivity, n...
Article
Although partners in close social relationships often enable one another to manage stress, stress can also undermine the many benefits that these relationships provide. We review interventions designed to reduce the effects of stress on relationships, distinguishing (a) couple-targeted interventions that aim to build couples’ skills in managing str...
Article
Given borderline personality disorder's (BPD) relation with interpersonal dysfunction, there is substantial interest in understanding BPD's effect on marriage. The current study used data from a community sample of 172 newlywed couples to examine spouses' BPD symptoms in relation to their observed communication, partner BPD symptoms, 4-year marital...
Article
Children's emotion dysregulation and depressive symptoms are known to be affected by a range of individual (parent, child) and systemic (parent-child, marital, and family) characteristics. The current study builds on this literature by examining the unique role of coparental affect in children's emotion dysregulation, and whether this association m...
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Despite narcissism's relation with interpersonal dysfunction, surprisingly little empirical research has been devoted to understanding narcissism's effect on intimate relationships in general or marital relationships in particular. The current study addressed this gap using longitudinal data from a community sample of 146 newlywed couples assessed...
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Strong marriages are associated with a range of positive outcomes for adults and their children. But many couples struggle to build and sustain strong marriages. Federal initiatives have sought to support marriage, particularly among low-income populations, through programs that emphasize relationship education. Recent results from three largescale...
Article
Although couples' management of differences and problems is widely assumed to be central to the course and outcome of their relationships, some theoretical perspectives hold that marital conflicts increase over the newlywed years, whereas others maintain that couples' problems remain stable. We tested these opposing views by examining changes in ma...
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Although increasing numbers of gay and lesbian individuals and couples are adopting children, gay men and lesbian women continue to face increased scrutiny and legal obstacles from the child welfare system. To date, little research has compared the experiences of gay or lesbian and heterosexual adoptive parents over time, limiting conceptual unders...
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Newlywed spouses routinely hope and believe that their relationships will thrive, but theoretical accounts differ on whether optimistic projections such as believing that one's marriage will improve are sources of strength, random forecasting errors, or self-protective mechanisms. To test these opposing perspectives, we asked 502 newlywed spouses i...
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Communication behavior is an integral part of relationship functioning and, therefore, a common target of relationship interventions. Between-couple variability in observed behaviors is commonly interpreted as reflecting their underlying skill in communication, but other factors, including perceived difficulty of the problem and the topic being dis...
Article
This study examined the trajectory of cognitive development over the first five years of adoptive placement among children adopted from foster care and how pre-adoption risk factors relate to this development. Overall, children's cognitive scores increased significantly, with the most rapid improvement occurring in the first year post-placement. By...
Article
Adoption is known to promote cognitive and emotional development in children from foster care, but policy debates remain regarding whether children adopted by gay and lesbian parents can achieve these positive outcomes. This study compared the cognitive development and behavior problems at 2, 12, and 24 months postplacement of 82 high-risk children...
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Are the doubts that people feel before marriage signs of impending difficulties or normative experiences that can be safely ignored? To test these opposing views, we asked 464 recently married spouses whether they had ever been uncertain about getting married and then compared 4-year divorce rates and marital satisfaction trajectories among those p...
Chapter
Definition of the Principle The Basic Research Foundation of the Principle A Brief History of the Principle in CBT Contemporary Evidence-Based Applications of the Principle in CBT Relationship to other Principles: Its Use in Elements of More Complex Protocols Communication in other Contexts Conclusion
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Most couples begin marriage intent on maintaining a fulfilling relationship, but some newlyweds soon struggle, and others continue to experience high levels of satisfaction. Do these diverse outcomes result from an incremental process that unfolds over time, as prevailing models suggest, or are they a manifestation of initial differences that are l...
Article
Improving intimate relationships with preventive and educational interventions has proven to be more difficult than originally conceived, and earlier models and approaches may be reaching their limits. Basic concerns remain about the long-term effectiveness of these interventions, whether they are reaching and benefiting couples most likely to need...
Article
Although divorce typically follows an extended period of unhappiness that begins early in marriage, some couples who are very happy throughout the first several years of marriage will also go on to divorce. This study aimed to identify risk factors early in marriage that distinguish initially satisfied couples who eventually divorce from those who...
Article
Although marital satisfaction starts high and declines for the average newlywed, some spouses may follow qualitatively distinct trajectories. Using eight self-reports of satisfaction collected over 4 years from 464 newlywed spouses, we identified five trajectory groups, including patterns defined by high intercepts and no declines in satisfaction,...
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Full-text available
For lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and young adults, coming out to family members, especially parents, is a major psychological decision and hurdle due to both perceived fears and actual negative consequences. But beyond the literature on factors associated with the decision to come out and parents' initial reactions to the disclosure...

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