Lucia O'SullivanLucia O'Sullivan Ph.D.

Title:  Professor, Director of the Experimental Program

Previous Degrees/Licensing/Training Obtained: 

B.A. (Hons.) University of New Brunswick
M.A. (Clinical Psychology) University of New Brunswick
Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology) Bowling Green State University
Postdoctoral Research Training (HIV) Columbia University

Dr. O’Sullivan holds a Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviour. Her work focuses primarily on sexual health, intimate relationships, and the affective and cognitive components of sexual decision-making of young adults and adolescents. Other studies address the development of romantic and sexual relationships, the acquisition of skills and experience required to establish, maintain, and end intimate relationships, and the role of gender in romantic and sexual relationship experiences. Her research program frequently incorporates studies and collaborations that are international (e.g., South Africa, Guatemala, India, US, UK) and interdisciplinary. She is active on a wide range of editorial boards and has published extensively in research journals and books.

Recent or Selected Publications:

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (in press). School girls and soccer moms: A content analysis of free “Teen” and “MILF” online pornography.  Journal of Sex Research.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Brotto, L. A., Byers, E. S., Majerovich, J., & Wuest, J. A. (in press). Problems in sexual functioning among middle to late adolescents. Journal of Sexual Medicine.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Ronis, S. T. (2013). Virtual cheating hearts: Extradyadic and poaching interactions among adolescents with links to online sexual activities. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 45, 175-184.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Vannier, S. A. (2013). Playing the field? Does actual or perceived relationship status of another influence ratings of physical attractiveness among young adults? Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 45, 210-219

Thompson, A. E., & O’Sullivan L. F. (2013). The relationship between men’s facial masculinity and women’s judgments of value as a potential romantic partner. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 22, 5-12

Whelehan & A. Bolin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Pasterski, V. (in press).  Sexual problems in adolescents and young adults. In Y. M. Binik & K. Hall (Eds). Principles and Practices of Sex Therapy (5th Ed). New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Ronis, S. (in press). Sexual development in girls: “Normative” development and development of paraphilias and sexual offending behaviors.  In D. S. Bromberg & W. T. O’Donohue (Eds.), Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexuality: Developmental and Forensic Psychology. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Thompson, A. E. (in press).  Sexuality in adolescence. In D. Tolman & L. Diamond (Eds.), APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology. Washington, DC:  APA Books.

Boyle, A. M., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2012).  The influence of dating anxiety on normative adolescent experiences of dating, sexual interactions, and alcohol consumption among Canadian middle adolescents. Journal of Youth Studies, 16, 222-236

O’Sullivan, L. F. (2012). Open to the public: How adolescents blur the boundaries online between the private and public spheres of their lives. [Editorial]. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50, 429-430.

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2012). Who gives and who gets: Why, when, and with whom young people engage in oral sex. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 572-582.

McKee, M. D., Rubin, S., Campos, G., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2011).  Challenges of providing confidential care to adolescents in urban primary care:  Clinicians’ perspectives.  Annals of Family Medicine, 9, 37-43.

Rubin, S. E., Alderman, E. M., Fletcher, J., Campos, G., O’Sullivan, L. F., & McKee, D. M. (2011). Testing adolescents for sexually transmitted infections in urban primary care practices: Results from a baseline study. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 2, 209-212.

Thompson, A. E., & O’Sullivan L. F. (2011). Gender differences in associations of sexual and romantic stimuli: Do men really prefer sex over romance? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 949-957.

Byers, E. S., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010). Sexual Situation Questionnaire. In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber & S. L. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd edition) (pp. 169-173).  New York, NY:  Routledge.

Boyle, A. M., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010).  General and sex-related communication in established relationships: An exploration of possible links to condom use among young adults. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 19, 53-64.

Harrison, A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010).  In the absence of marriage:  Long term concurrent partnerships, love and the dynamics of HIV risk among young adult South Africans.  AIDS and Behavior, 14, 991-1000.

Hensel, D. J., Fortenberry, J. D., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Orr, D. P. (2010).  The developmental association of sexual self-concept with oral-genital sex and coitus among adolescent women.  Journal of Research on Adolescence, 34, 675-684.

O’Sullivan, L. F., McKee, M. D., Rubin, S. E., & Campos, G. (2010).  Primary care providers’ reports of the provision of time alone to adolescent patients:  Results of a prospective card study.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 47, 110-112.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., & McKeague, I. (2010).  Sexual Self-Concept Inventory.  In T. D. Fisher, C. M. Davis, W. L. Yarber & S. L. Davis (Eds.), The Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (3rd edition) (pp. 534-536). New York, NY:  Routledge.

Samayoa, B., Anderson, M. R., O’Sullivan, L. F., Pacheco, K. P. A., Matos, A., Reyes, D. A., Setru, S., & Arathoon, E. (2010).  Does HIV VCT reduce risk behaviors?:  An observational study in Guatemala City.  Current HIV Research, 8, 121-126.

Rubin, S., McKee, M. D., Campos, G., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010).  Delivery of confidential care to adolescent males. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23, 728-735.

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010). Communicating interest in sex: Verbal and non-verbal initiation of sexual activity in young adults’ romantic dating relationships.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 961-969.

Ronis, S., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2010).  A longitudinal analysis of predictions of male and female adolescents’ transitions to intimate sexual behavior.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 49, 321-323. 

Anderson, M. R., Samayoa, B., O’Sullivan, L. F., Fletcher, J., & Arathoon, E. (2009).  Can a clinical prediction tool guide HIV testing decisions?  Experience at a national hospital in Guatemala.  International Journal of STD & AIDS, 20, 31-34.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Udell, W., Montrose, V. A., Antoniello, P., & Hoffman, S. (2009).  A cognitive analysis of college students’ explanations for engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1121-1131. 

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2009).  Sex without desire:  Characteristics of occasions of sexual compliance in young adults’ committed relationships.  The Journal of Sex Research, 47, 429-439. 

Beckford, S., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Hoffman, S. (2008).  Gender scripts in sexual relationships:  Caribbean Americans.  In D. Roberts, R. Reddock, D. Douglas & S. Reid (Eds.), Sex, power and taboo:  Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and beyond (pp. 110-125).  Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Hearn, K. D. (2008).  Predicting first intercourse among urban early adolescent girls:  The role of emotions.  Cognition and Emotion, 22, 168-179.

O’Sullivan, L. F. (2008).  Challenging assumptions regarding the validity of self-report measures: The special case of sexual behavior [Editorial].  Journal of Adolescent Health, 42, 207-208.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Majerovich, J. (2008).  Difficulties with sexual functioning in a sample of male and female late adolescent and young adult university students.  The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 17, 109-121.

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2008).  The feasibility and acceptability of handheld computers in a prospective diary study of adolescent sexual behaviour.  The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 17, 183-192.

Carballo-Diéguez, A., O’Sullivan, L. F., Lin, P., Dolezal, C., Pollack, L., & Catania, J. (2007).  Awareness and attitudes regarding microbicides and Nonoxynol-9 use in a probability sample of gay men.  AIDS and Behavior, 11, 271-276.

Dworkin, S. L., and O’Sullivan, L. F. (2007).  “It’s less work for us and it shows us she has good taste”:  Masculinity, sexual initiation, and contemporary sexual scripts.  In M. Kimmel (Ed.), The sexual self (pp. 105-121).  Nashville, TN:  Vanderbilt University Press.

Meston, C. M., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2007).  Such a tease:  Intentional sexual provocation within heterosexual interactions.  Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 531-542.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Cooper-Serber, E., Kubeka, M., & Harrison, A. (2007).  Body concepts:  Beliefs about the body and efforts to prevent HIV and pregnancy among a sample of young adults in South Africa.  International Journal of Sexual Health, 19, 69-80.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Harris, K., Cheng, M., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2007).  I wanna’ hold your hand:  The progression of social, romantic and sexual events in adolescent relationships.  Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 39, 100-107.

Seal, D. W., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Ehrhardt, A. A. (2007). Miscommunications and misinterpretations:  Men’s scripts about sexual communication and unwanted sex in interactions with women.  In M. Kimmel (Ed.), The sexual self (pp. 141-161).  Nashville, TN:  Vanderbilt University Press.

Harrison, A., Hoffman, S., & O’Sullivan, L. (2006).  Young men’s HIV risks in South Africa:  The importance of multiple risk behaviors.  [Comment]  AIDS, 20, 1467-1468.

Harrison, A., O’Sullivan, L. F., Hoffman, S., Dolezal, C., & Morrell, R. (2006).  Gender role and relationship norms among young adults in South Africa:  Measuring the context of masculinity and HIV risk.  Journal of Urban Health, 83, 709-722.

Hoffman, S., O’Sullivan, L. F., Dolezal, C., & Monroe-Wise, A.  (2006).   HIV risk behaviors and the context of sexual coercion in young adults’ sexual interactions:  Results from a diary study in rural South Africa.  Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 33, 52-58.

McKee, D. M., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Weber, C. M. (2006).  Perspectives on confidential care for adolescent girls.  Annals of Family Medicine, 4, 519-526.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Harrison, A., Morrell, R., Monroe-Wise, A., & Kubeka, M. (2006).  Gender dynamics in the primary sexual relationships of young rural South African women and men.  Culture, Health & Sexuality, 8, 99-113.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Hoffman, S., Harrison, A., & Dolezal, C. (2006).  Men, multiple sexual partners, and young adults’ sexual relationships:  Understanding the role of gender in the study of risk.  Journal of Urban Health, 83, 695-708.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L., & McKeague, I. W. (2006).  The development of the Sexual Self-Concept Inventory for early adolescent girls.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 139-149.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Udell, W., & Patel, V. L. (2006).  Young urban adults’ heterosexual risk encounters and perceived risk and safety:  A structured diary study.  The Journal of Sex Research, 43, 343-351.

Patel, V. L., Gutnik, L. A., Yoskowitz, N. A., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Kaufman, D. R. (2006).  Patterns of reasoning and decision making about condom use by urban college students.  AIDS Care, 18, 918-930.


Undergraduate courses:  Personality Psychology (PSYC 3053), Social Psychology (PSYC 2403), Human Sexuality (PSYC 3043)
Graduate courses: Social Psychology (PSYC 6062)

Any Professional Awards/Honours:

  • 1995-1996       Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Research Science Award – Behavioral Sciences Research Training in HIV Infection (Columbia University, New York)
  • 1996 – 1998    Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Science Research Council, Sexuality Research Fellowship (Ford Foundation)
  • 1998                Young Researcher Award, Society for Sex Therapy and Research
  • 1999-2004       Research Scientist Development Award (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • 2002                Recognition of Excellence in Teaching, Department of Human Development, (Columbia University, New York)
  • 2003                Outstanding Teaching Award, Department of Human Development (Columbia University, New York)
  • 2006-2011       Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviours, Tier II
  • 2009                Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New Brunswick
  • 2011-2016       Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviours, Tier II

Contact Information:

Lucia O'Sullivan

Department of Psychology
University of New Brunswick
38 Dineen Drive, Room 216
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Canada  E3B 5A3

Tel. (506) 458-7698
Fax (506) 447-3063