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Personality and Social Norms Research Group

Habarth Research Group: Personality and Social Norms

Janice Habarth, Ph.D.


This research group is focused on examining individual and social contexts as they relate to interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning. Our work is inspired by several areas of scholarship, including gender and women’s studies, personality psychology, social psychology, and TBLG psychology. Many of our projects focus on how personality and social demographic variables are related to attitudes about gender and sexual orientation. We also have interests in cultural competence of healthcare providers working with sexual and gender minority populations, and how experiences of marginalization and empowerment may relate to socially normative expectations, particularly for people with sexual and gender minority identities. Common constructs across studies in our group include tolerance of ambiguity, openness to experience, heteronormative attitudes and beliefs, intersectionality, sexual minority status, gender roles, gender minority status, and a range of outcomes associated with these constructs, including couple functioning, mental health, and life satisfaction.


PSN research group members work consistently on conference proposals and make substantial contributions towards the development of manuscripts to be submitted for publication. Recent topics have included: 1) development of a measure to assess competence in healthcare provision to trans and gender nonconforming populations; 2) attitudes about sexual fluidity and bisexuality; and 3) attitudes about transgender and wrongfully convicted populations in forensic settings.


New members of this research lab in the coming year will contribute to new data collection and data analysis and may also contribute to further analysis of existing datasets. Possible projects over the next few years include:

  1. Predicting attitudes and beliefs about sexual orientation and gender in socioeconomically and ethnically diverse samples
  2. Attitudes and beliefs about sexual orientation and gender among mental health and/or healthcare providers; and
  3. Relating the construct of intersectionality to variables and constructs such as marginalization, minority stress, and socially normative attitudes


We will accept up to three new students for the upcoming year. We welcome  applications from students who are interested in making  substantial contributions to:

  • development of publications and posters on topics related to gender and sexual orientation
  • implementation of new data collection and study development efforts, including support of advanced students’ dissertations
  • collaboration aimed at further our group’s research efforts that are inspired by feminist, social justice priorities


Each student should be prepared to work about 10 hours per week during the second year in the program. For example, students are expected to co-author a poster proposal by the end of their first research group year. Students also read and review articles on a weekly basis and discuss how the literature relates to new projects under development. We are an active, collaborative research group. We meet weekly to discuss research projects as well as broad professional development.


Application Process:

Students should submit their CV, an unofficial PAU transcript, and a cover letter describing (1) a summary of research skills/experiences and (2) a reflection about how this research group fits with their research interests.

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