Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Psychology

Gilmer 306

Dr. Avery’s overarching research interests are at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and mainstream media. Specifically, she is interested in Black women’s intersectional identities and how the negotiation of dominant gender ideologies and cultural stereotypes are associated with adverse psychological and sexual health outcomes. Currently, she has three lines of research that focus on understanding the ways in which gender-based psychological and sociocultural factors inform the sexual beliefs, experiences, and health practices of young Black women: (1) the health consequences associated with negotiating paradoxical expectations to perform hegemonic femininity (e.g., nurturing, submissive, communal) and stoicism (e.g., strong Black woman/superwoman stereotype); (2) the role of popular media in the socialization of disempowering gender, sex, and romantic relationship beliefs; and, (3) how the idealization of narrow feminine beauty and body standards contributes to adverse emotional (e.g., feelings of guilt and shame), cognitive (e.g., body surveillance and dissatisfaction), and behavioral (e.g., coercion, low sexual self-efficacy and assertiveness) experiences during sexual intimacy. Taken together, the primary aim of Dr. Avery’s research is to promote healthy gender and sexual development among socially marginalized and stigmatized groups. She runs the RISE (Research on Intersectionality, Sexuality, and Empowerment) Lab at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Avery is currently accepting applications for PhD students for the Community Psychology Program. She is also looking to recruit highly motivated undergraduate students for the RISELab in the Spring 2018. Interested parties should contact her directly at la4gd@virginia.edu.    

Representative Publications

  • Jerald, M. C., Cole, E. R., Ward, L. M., & Avery, L. R. (2017). Controlling images: How awareness of group stereotypes affects Black women’s well-being. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64, 487-499. doi: 10.1037/cou0000233
  • Stanton, A. G., Jerald, M. C., Ward, L. M., & Avery, L. R. (2017). Social media contributions to strong Black woman ideal endorsement and Black women’s mental health. Psychology of Women Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0361684317732330
  • Avery, L. R., Ward, L. M., Moss, L., & Üsküp, D. (2016). Tuning gender: Representations of femininity and masculinity in popular music by Black artists. Journal of Black Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0095798415627917
  • Goldey, K. L., Avery, L. R., & van Anders, S. M. (2014). Sexual fantasies and gender/sex: A multimethod approach with quantitative content analysis and hormonal responses. The Journal of Sex Research, 51, 917-931. doi:10.1080/00224499.2013.798611
  • Cole, E. R., Avery, L. R., Dodson, C., & Goodman, K. D. (2012). Against nature: How arguments about the naturalness of marriage privilege heterosexuality. Journal of Social Issues, 68, 46-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2012.01735.x