Research Interests

Dr. Tornello has three major research interests: Family, sexual orientation, and gender. The majority of her work has focused on the role of family composition and parental gender in the family system (children’s development, parental dynamics, and couple functioning). How do variations (e.g., pathways to parenthood or division of unpaid labor) and changes (e.g., divorce) in family composition relate to family members’ development and functioning? Specifically, for this area of work she is interested in the role and experiences of parents across gender and sexual orientation, as it relates to individual development within these differently designed families.

Dr. Tornello’s research also focuses on the experiences of becoming a parent among sexual and gender minority individuals. How do sexual and gender minority people decide to become parents and what methods do they use to create their families? How do these families function? What are the experiences of sexual and gender minority individuals compared to their heterosexual peers? What are the unique challenges, strengths, and issues among this population? How can we harvest the resiliency and minimize the risk impacting sexual and gender minority people and their families? 

Dr. Tornello hopes that all areas of her research can add to knowledge as well as inform public debates about families, parenting, sexual orientation, gender, and children’s development. Dr. Tornello loves to mentor graduate and undergraduate students as research assistants and collaborators.

Feel free to contact Dr. Tornello at slt35 at psu dot edu