Profile page for: Lucia O'Sullivan | UNB

Lucia O'Sullivan




Keirstead Hall 216

1 506 458 7698


Dr. O’Sullivan’s research addresses the interface of sexuality and intimate relationships, including the impact of new digital technologies on close relationships, with a primary focus on adolescents and young adults. Another line of research focuses on barriers and facilitators to access to sexual health care and services.

Her research program frequently incorporates international studies and collaborations (e.g., South Africa, Guatemala, India, US). She has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and chapters, co-edited a book on sexual coercion in dating relationships, and serves on a wide range of research journal editorial boards.


  • 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

Selected publications

Manzer, D., O'Sullivan, L. F., & Doucet, S. (in press). Myths, misunderstandings, and missing information: Experiences of nurse practitioners in delivery primary care to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.

O'Sullivan, L. F., Byers, E. S., & Mitra, K. (in press). Sexual and reproductive health education attitudes and experience in India: How much support is there for much-needed comprehensive sex education? Sex Education.

Vogels, E. A., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (in press). The relationship among online sexually explicit material exposure to, desire for, and participation in rough sex. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Cormier, L. A., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (2018). Anti-climactic: Investigating how adolescents perceive and deal with orgasm difficulty. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27, 111-122.

Lee, B. H., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (in press). Walk the line: How successful are efforts to maintain monogamy in intimate relationships? Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Vogels, E. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (in press). Porn, peers, and performing oral sex: The mediating role of peer norms on pornography’s influence regarding oral sex. Media Psychology.

Belu, C. F., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2018). Why find my own when I can take yours?: The quality of relationships that arise from successful mate poaching. Journal of Relationship Research, 9, e6, 1-10.

Fifield, J., O’Sullivan, L., Kelvin, E. A., Mantell, J. E., Exner, T., Ramjee, G., Blanchard, K., & Hoffman, S. (2018). Social support and violence-prone relationships as predictors of disclosure of HIV status among newly diagnosed HIV-positive South Africans. AIDS and Behavior. Online ahead of print DOI:10.1007/s10461-018-2136-z

Lee, B. H., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2018). Ain’t misbehavin’?: Monogamy maintenance strategies in heterosexual romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 25, 205-232.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Wuest, J., & Byers, E. S. (2018). Figuring it out: How late adolescent and young adult men and women perceive and address problems in sexual functioning. Journal of Sex Research. Online ahead of print DOI: 120.1080/00224499.2017.1416451

Thompson, A. E., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2017). Understanding variations in judgments of infidelity: An application of Attribution Theory. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 39, 262-276.

Del Palacio-González, A., Clark, D. A., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (2016). Cognitive processing in the aftermath of relationship dissolution: Associations with concurrent and prospective distress and posttraumatic growth. Stress and Health, 33, 540-548.

Merwin, K. E., O'Sullivan, L. F., & Rosen, N. O. (2017). We need to talk: Disclosure of sexual problems is associated with depression, sexual functioning, and relationship satisfaction in women. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 43, 786-800.

Del Palacio-González, A., Clark, D. A., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (2017). Distress severity following a romantic breakup is associated with positive relationship memories among emerging adults. Emerging Adulthood, 5, 259-267.

Vannier, S. A., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (2017). Great expectations: Examining unmet romantic expectations and dating relationship outcomes using an investment model framework. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34, 235-257.

Anisimowicz, Y., & O'Sullivan, L. F. (2016). Men's and women's use and creation of online sexually explicit materials including fandom-related works. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 823-833.

Belu, C. F., Lee, B. H., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2017). It hurts to let you go: Characteristics of romantic relationships, breakups and the aftermath. Journal of Relationship Research, 7, e11.

Boyle, A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2016). Staying connected: Technology use, computer-mediated communication and relationship outcomes among college students. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19, 299-307.

Byers, E. S., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Brotto, L. (2016). Time out from sex or romance: Sexually experienced adolescents’ decisions to purposefully avoid sexual activity and/or romantic relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 831-845.

Gibson, K., O’Sullivan, L. F., & Thompson, A. E. (2016). Love thy neighbour: Personality traits, relationship quality and attraction to others as predictors of infidelity. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 25, 186-198.

Hamilton, R., Scott, D., O’Sullivan, L., LaChapelle, D. (2016). Applying Social Cognitive Theory to predict hazing perpetration in university athletics. The Journal of Sport Behavior, 39, 255-277.

Thompson, A. E., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2016). I can but you can’t: Inconsistencies in judgments of and experiences with infidelity. Journal of Relationships Research, 7, e3.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & *Vannier, S. A. (2016). Women’s sexual desire and desire disorders from a developmental perspective. Current Sexual Health Reports, 8, 47-56.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Byers, E. S., Brotto, L. A., Majerovich, J. A., & Fletcher, J. (2016). A longitudinal study of problems in sexual functioning and related sexual distress among middle to late adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 59, 318-324.

Vannier, S. A., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2016). Passion, connection & destiny: How romanticized expectations help predict satisfaction and commitment in young adults’ dating relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34, 235-257.

O’Sullivan, L. F. (2015). Sexual function and problems with adolescents and young adults. Current Sexual Health Reports, 7, 12-18.

O’Sullivan, L. F. (2015). High texting rates are associated with oral sex and intercourse experience in a longitudinal study of high school students. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 526-531.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Byers, E. S., Brotto, L. A., & Majerovich, J. (2015).  Access to and use of sexual health care services among young Canadians with and without a history of sexual coercion. Canadian Family Physician, 61, e467-e473.

Thompson, A. E., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2015). Drawing the line: The development of a comprehensive assessment of infidelity judgments. Journal of Sex Research, 53, 910-926.

Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., See, L., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2015). Young women’s satisfaction with sex and romance, and emotional reactions to sex: Associations with sexual entitlement, efficacy and situational factors. Emerging Adulthood, 3, 113-122.

Lee, B. H., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2014). The ex-factor: Characteristics of online and offline post-relationship contact and tracking among Canadian emerging adults. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 23, 96-105.

O’Sullivan, L. F. (2014). Linking online sexual activities to health outcomes among teens. In E. S. Lefkowitz & S. A. Vasilenko (Eds.), Positive and Negative Outcomes of Sexual Behaviors. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 144, 37-51.

O’Sullivan, L. F., Brotto, L. A., Byers, E. S., Majerovich, J., & Wuest, J. A. (2014). Problems in sexual functioning among middle to late adolescents. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11, 630-641.

Thompson. A. E., O’Sullivan, L. F., Byers, E. S., & Shaughnessy, K. (2014). Young adults’ implicit and explicit attitudes toward sexuality of older adults. Canadian Journal on Aging, 33, 259-270.

Vannier, S. A., Currie, A. B., & O’Sullivan, L. F. (2014). School girls and soccer moms: A content analysis of free “Teen” and “MILF” online pornography.  Journal of Sex Research, 51, 253-264.

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 Science45, 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 Sexuality22, 5-12.

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

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Pasterski, V. (2014).  Sexual problems in adolescents and young adults. In Y. M. Binik & K. Hall (Eds). Principles and Practices of Sex Therapy (5th Ed) (pp. 511-524). New York, NY: Guilford Publications.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Ronis, S. (2014). 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 (pp. 193-219). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.

O’Sullivan, L. F., & Thompson, A. E. (2013).  Sexuality in adolescence. In D. Tolman & L. Diamond (Eds.), APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology (pp. 433-486). 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 Health2, 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.


  • Undergraduate courses: Close Relationships (PSYC3453) Personality Psychology (PSYC 3053), Foundations of Social Psychology (PSYC 2403), Human Sexuality (PSYC 3043), Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 1000)
  • Graduate courses: Social Psychology (PSYC 6062); Experimental Psychology Practicum (PSYC 6641)

Professional awards

  • 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)
  • 2006-2016 Canada Research Chair in Adolescents’ Sexual Health Behaviours, Tier II
  • 2009 Allan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of New Brunswick
  • 2015 Fellow, Canadian Psychological Association
  • 2016 UNB Research Merit Award
  • 2017 Faculty of Arts Teaching Award