Eva S. Lefkowitz 

photo of Eva Lefkowitz

Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, and Professor-in-Charge, Graduate Program

Contact Information

111 Health and Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-863-7963



Research Interests

My research involves sexual and romantic relationships and experiences during adolescence and emerging adulthood. I am interested both in how sexual and romantic relationships and experiences develop, and in correlates of these relationships and behaviors (e.g., attitudes such as beliefs about gender, religiosity, communication with partners and others). I take a developmental approach to studying sexual health, incorporating both sexual development and risk perspectives. My students and I collected four waves of data across the college years as part of the College Interactions and Experiences Lab. In this longitudinal study, we are examining how attitudes and behaviors change across the transition to college, for European American, African American, and Latino American young men and women. In addition, as part of the University Life Study, Jennifer Maggs and recently completed the seventh wave of data to examine the co-occurrence of alcohol use and sexual behaviors across the college years. Each semester, participants completed surveys, daily diaries, and answered open-ended questions about their experiences. We also coded environmental events to map onto the daily diary surveys. Undergraduate and graduate students who work on these projects are involved in all aspects of research, including data collection, data scoring, coding of videotaped interactions and open-ended data, data analysis, conference presentations, and manuscript writing.


Research Grants

  • 2013 - 2018: "Friendship Networks and Emergence of Substance Use" (Co-investigator)
  • 2006 - 2011: Alcohol Use and Sex in College: Developmental Change and Situational Fluctuations. National Institutes of Health (Co-investigator).
  • 2001 - 2006: "Gender Role Development and HIV Risk in Emerging Adulthood" National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • 2001 - 2006: "Problems between parents and offspring in adulthood" with Karen Fingerman of Purdue University, National Institute of Aging
  • 2003 - 2004 "The Transition to Adulthood in China" Children, Youth and Families Consortium, Pennsylvania State University


B.A., 1990, Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
M.A., 1993, Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
Ph.D., 1998, Developmental Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

Professional Experience

2015-Present: Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University

2009-2010: Associate Editor, Developmental Psychology

2004-2015: Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

1998-2004: Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

1993-1998: Graduate Student Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles

1990-1992: Research Assistant, Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, MA

Selected Publications

Lefkowitz, E. S., *Shearer, C. L., *Gillen, M. M., & *Espinosa-Hernandez, G. (in press). How gendered attitudes relate to women’s and men’s sexual behaviors and beliefs. Sexuality & Culture.

*Vasilenko, S. A., *Maas, M. K., & Lefkowitz, E. S. (in press). “It felt good but weird at the same time”: Emerging adults’ first experiences of six different sexual behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Research.

Lefkowitz, E. S., & Vasilenko, S. A. (2014, Editors). New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development: Positive and negative outcomes of sexual behavior, 144. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lefkowitz, E. S., *Patrick, M., *Morgan, N., *Bezemer, D. H., & *Vasilenko, S. A., (2012). State Patty’s Day: College student drinking and local crime increased on a student-constructed holiday. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27, 323-350.

Lefkowitz, E. S., *Gillen, M. M., & *Vasilenko, S. A. (2011). Putting the romance back into sex: Sexuality in romantic relationships. In F. D. Fincham & M. Cui (Eds.), Romantic relationships in emerging adulthood (pp. 213-233). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lefkowitz, E. S., & *Espinosa-Hernandez, G. (2007). Sex-related communication with mothers and close friends during the transition to university. Journal of Sex Research, 44, 17-27.

Lefkowitz, E. S. (2005). “Things have gotten better”: Developmental changes among emerging adults after the transition to university. Journal of Adolescent Research, 20, 40-63. 

Lefkowitz, E. S., Sigman, M. D. & Au, T. K. (2000). Helping mothers discuss sexuality and AIDS with adolescents. Child Development, 71, 1383-1394.

Lefkowitz, E. S., Romo. L. F., Corona, R., Au, T. K., & Sigman, M. (2000). How Latino American and European American adolescents discuss conflicts, sexuality, and AIDS with their mothers. Developmental Psychology, 36, 315-325.

Lefkowitz, E. S., *Gillen, M. M., *Shearer, C. L., & *Boone, T. L. (2004). Religiosity, sexual behaviors, and sexual attitudes during emerging adulthood. Journal of Sex Research, 41, 150 – 159.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Eva Lefkowitz vitae

Center Affiliations

  • Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Domains of Health and Behavior