Laura Widman

Picture of Laura Widman

Assistant Professor

Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Widman is a clinical psychologist who works at the intersection of psychology and public health. Her research focuses broadly on adolescent sexual health, sexual communication processes, and the primary prevention of HIV and other STDs. Dr. Widman's goals are to apply psychological theories and sexual health principles to contribute to basic social science and behavioral interventions that reduce the incidence of HIV/STDs and unintended pregnancy among youth. Her recent research focuses on understanding how adolescents communicate about sexual topics with their parents, friends, and romantic partners, and investigating the links between sexual communication and safer sex practices.

Funded Research

Dr. Widman currently has a K99/R00 award funded through NICHD (R00 HD075654). The purpose of this project is to enhance our understanding of the sexual communication and negotiation process among youth. This enhanced understanding is then being incorporated into an interactive, web-based sexual health intervention aimed at increasing sexual communication skills and decreasing unprotected sex for adolescent girls at risk of HIV and other STDs. Dr. Widman is currently examining the effectiveness of this intervention among North Carolina teens.


Selected publications include:

Widman, L., Golin, C. E., Noar, S. M., Massey, J., & Prinstein, M. P. (2016, In Press). Development of a web-based HIV/STD prevention program for adolescent girls emphasizing sexual communication skills. AIDS Education and Prevention.

Nesi, J., Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., & Prinstein, M. J. (2016, In Press). Technology-based communication and the development of interpersonal competencies within adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Noar, S. M., Nesi, J., & Garrett, K. P. (2016). Meta-analysis of parent-adolescent sexual communication and adolescent safer sex behavior. JAMA Pediatrics, 170, 52-61.

Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Helms, S. W., & Prinstein, M. J. (2016). Adolescent susceptibility to peer influence in sexual situations.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 58, 323-329.

Choukas-Bradley, S., Goldberg, S. K., Widman, L., Reese, B. M., & Halpern, C. T. (2015). Demographic and developmental differences in the content and sequence of adolescents’ ideal romantic relationship behaviors. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 45, 112-126.

Widman, L., Noar, S. M., Choukas-Bradley, S., & Francis, D. (2014). Adolescent sexual health communication and condom use: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 33, 1113-1124.

Widman, L., Nesi, J., Choukas-Bradley, S., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Safe Sext: Adolescents’ use of technology to communicate about sexual health with dating partners. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54, 612-614.

Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Helms, S. W., Golin, C. E., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Sexual communication between early adolescents and their dating partners, parents, and best friends. Journal of Sex Research, 51, 731-741.

Przybyla, S. M., Golin, C. E., Widman, L., Grodensky, C. A., Earp, J. A., & Suchindran, C. (2014). Serostatus disclosure and unprotected sex among HIV-positive MSM, heterosexual men, and heterosexual women.  AIDS Patient Care and STDS, 28, 677-684.

Widman, L., Noar, S. M., Golin, C. E., Fitts Willoughby, J., & Crosby, R. (2014). Incarceration and unstable housing interact to predict sexual risk behaviors among African American STD clinic patients. International Journal of STD and AIDS, 25, 348-354.

Choukas-Bradley, S., Giletta, M., Widman, L., Cohen, G. L., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Experimentally-measured susceptibility to peer influence and adolescent sexual behavior trajectories: A preliminary study. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2221-2227.

Helms, S. W., Choukas-Bradley, S., Widman, L., Cohen, G. L., Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Adolescents’ misperceive and are influenced by high status peers’ deviant, health risk, and adaptive behavior. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2697-2714.

Widman, L., Golin, C. E., & Noar, S. M. (2013). When do condom use intentions lead to actions? Examining the role of sexual communication on safer sexual behavior among people living with HIV. Journal of Health Psychology, 18, 507-517.

Widman, L., Golin, C. E., Grodensky, C. A., & Suchindran, C. (2013). Do safer sex self-efficacy, attitudes toward condoms, and HIV transmission risk beliefs differ among men who have sex with men, heterosexual men, and women living with HIV? AIDS and Behavior, 17, 1873-1882.

Przybyla, S. M., Golin, C. E., Widman, L., Grodensky, C. A., Earp, J. A., & Suchindran, C. (2013). Serostatus disclosure to sexual partners among people living with HIV: Examining the roles of partner characteristics and stigma. AIDS Care, 25, 566-572.

McNulty, J. K., & Widman, L. (2013). The implications of sexual narcissism for sexual and marital satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior42, 1021-1032.

Widman, L., Olson, M. A., & Bolen, R. (2013). Self-reported sexual assault in convicted sex offenders and community men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28, 1519-1536.

Widman, L., & Olson, M. A. (2013). On the relationship between automatic attitudes and self-reported sexual assault in men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 813-823. 

Widman, L., & McNulty, J. K. (2010). Sexual narcissism and the perpetration of sexual aggression. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 926-939.

Widman, L., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K., & Little, K. C. (2006). Sexual communication and contraceptive use in adolescent dating couples. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 893-899.

Welsh, D. P., Haugen, P. T., Widman, L., Darling, N., & Grello, C. M. (2005). Kissing is good: A developmental investigation of sexuality in adolescent romantic couples. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2, 32-41.


  • B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University, 2003
  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from University of Tennessee, 2010
  • Clinical Internship in Clinical Psychology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2010
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Public Health and Psychology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2010-2015