Dr. Whitton received her Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Denver, where she studied links between couple relationships and depression, and the effects of PREP, an evidence based relationship education program. She then completed a 3 year NIMH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Judge Baker Children’s Center, studying family influences on offspring’s mental health and intimate relationships. From 2007-2009, Dr. Whitton was research faculty at Boston University. She joined the Psychology department at the University of Cincinnati in 2010.        


Dr. Whitton’s current research interests are largely focused on the intimate relationships of sexual minorities (LGBT individuals). In 2016 she launched a 5-year NIH funded study of healthy and unhealthy/violent relationships in LGBT adolescents and young adults (FAB400). She is also a co-investigator on two studies at Northwestern University evaluating 2GETHER, a couples-based intervention to reduce HIV risk among young MSM. Dr. Whitton continues to work on refining, testing, and broadening the reach of the Strengthening Same Sex Relationship Programs, relationship education programs she developed to be culturally sensitive for use with same-sex couples.

Finally, she is interested in developing and testing couple-based programs to promote individual health, such as a partner-assisted smoking cessation program (PACT) that teaches couples how to communicate and support one another effectively to maximize the chances of a successful quit.

Contact Information:

Sarah W. Whitton

Associate Professor

Psychology Department, University of Cincinnati

4150G Edwards, Cincinnati Ohio 45221-0376

Phone: (513) 556-9116


Representative Publications

Whitton, S. W., Newcomb, M. E., Messinger, A., Byck, G., & Mustanski, B. (in press). A longitudinal study of intimate partner violence victimization among sexual minority youth. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Newcomb, M. E., Macapagal, K. R., Feinstein, B. A., Bettin, E., Swann, G., & Whitton, S. W. (in press). Integrating HIV prevention and relationship education for young same-sex male couples: A pilot trial of the 2GETHER intervention. AIDS and Behavior.

Reuter, T. R., Newcomb, M. E., Whitton, S. W., & Mustanski, B. (in press). Intimate partner violence in LGBT youth: demographic differences and associations with health behaviors. Psychology of Violence.

Whitton, S. W., Weitbrecht, E.M., Kuryluk, A. D., & Hutsell, D. W. (2016). A randomized waitlist-controlled trial of culturally sensitive relationship education for male same-sex couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 763-768.

Whitton, S. W., Khouddouma, A. M., & Kuryluk, A.D. (2015). Legal and social ceremonies to formalize same-sex relationships: Associations with commitment, social support, and relationship outcomes. Couple and Family Psychology, 4, 161-176.

Khouddouma, A. M., Norona, J.C., & Whitton, S. W. (2015). Individual, couple, and contextual factors associated with same-sex relationship instability. Couple and Family Psychology, 2, 106-125.

Haas, S. M., & Whitton, S.W. (2015). The significance of living together and importance of marriage in same-sex couples.  Journal of Homosexuality, 62.1241-1263. DOI:10.1080/00918369.2015.1037137

Bruner, M. R., Kuryluk, A. D., & Whitton, S. W. (2015). ADHD symptom levels and romantic relationship quality in emerging adults. Journal of American College Health, 63, 98-108. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2014.975717

Whitton, S. W., Weitbrecht, E. M., & Kuryluk, A.D. (2015). Monogamy agreements in male same-sex couples: Associations with relationship quality and individual well-being. Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, 14, 39-63.

Mustanski, B., Greene, G. J., Ryan, D. T., & Whitton, S. W. (2015). Feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of an online sexual health promotion program for LGBT youth: The Queer Sex Ed intervention. Journal of Sex Research, 52, 220-230. DOI:10.1080/00224499.2013.867924

Whitton, S. W., & Kuryluk, A.D. (2014). Associations between relationship quality and depressive symptoms in same-sex couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 571-576. doi: 10.1037/fam0000011

Whitton, S. W., Rhoades, G.K., & Whisman, M. A. (2014). Fluctuations in Relationship Adjustment Over Time and Individual Functioning: Main, Mediated, and Moderated Effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 858-871. doi: 10.1177/0146167214528988

Whitton, S. W., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J. & Johnson, C. (2013). Attitudes toward divorce, commitment, and divorce proneness in first marriages and remarriages. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75, .

Whitton, S. W., & Kuryluk, A. (2013). Intrapersonal moderators of the association between relationship satisfaction and depressive symptoms: Findings from emerging adults. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 751-771. doi:10.1177/0265407512467749

Buzzella, B. A. Whitton, S.W. , & Tompson, M. (2012). The initial evaluation of a relationship education program for male same-sex couples. Couple and Family Psychology, 14, 306-322.

McHugh, R.K., Whitton, S.W., Peckham, A.D., Welge, J.A., & Otto, M.W. (2013). Patient preference for psychological vs. pharmacological treatment of psychiatric disorders: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Whitton, S.W. & Buzzella, B. A. (2012). Using relationship education programs with same-sex couples: A preliminary evaluation of program utility and needed modifications. Marriage and Family Review, 48, 667-688.

Whitton, S. W., & Kuryluk, A. (2012). Relationship satisfaction and depressive symptoms in emerging adults: Cross-sectional associations and moderating effects of relationship characteristics. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 226-235.

Whitton, S.W. & Buzzella, B. A. (2011). Relationship education programs with same-sex couples. National Council on Family Relations Report, 56, 13-15.

Whitton, S. W. & Whisman, M. (2010). Relationship satisfaction instability and depression. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 791-794.

Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Whitton, S. W. (2010). Commitment and the Securing of Romantic Attachment. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 2, 243-257.

Whitton, S. W. (2010). Depression in the Family. The Encyclopedia of Family Health (Eds. M. Craft-Rosenberg & S. Pehler). Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA., 304-305.

Markman, H. J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Regan, E., & Whitton, S. W. (2010). The premarital communication roots of marital distress and divorce: The first five years of marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 289-298.

Whitton, S. W., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Baucom, B. R. (2008). Women’s weekly relationship functioning and depressive symptoms. Personal Relationships, 15, 533-550.

Whitton, S. W., Nicholson, J. M., & Markman, H. J. (2008). Research on interventions for stepfamily couples: The state of the field. In Pryor, J. (Ed.) The International Handbook of Stepfamilies (pp. 455-484). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Nicholson, J. M., Sanders, M. R., Halford, W. K., Phillips, M., & Whitton, S. W. (2008). The prevention and treatment of children’s adjustment problems in stepfamilies. In Pryor, J. (Ed.) The International Handbook of Stepfamilies (pp.485-521). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Whitton, S. W., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2008). Effects of parental divorce on marital commitment and confidence. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 789-793.

Whitton, S. W., Waldinger, R. J., Schulz, M. S., Allen, J.P., Crowell, J. A., & Hauser, S. T. (2008). Prospective associations from family-of-origin interactions to adult marital interactions and relationship adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 274-286.

Whitton, S. W., Larson, J., & Hauser, S. T. (2008). Depressive symptoms and bias in perceived social competence among young adults. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(7), 1-15.

Nicholson, J. M., Phillips, M., Whitton, S. W., Halford, W. K., & Sanders, M. R.  (2007). Promoting healthy stepfamilies: Reasons for seeking help and perceived benefits from intervention. Family Matters, 77.

Whitton, S.W., Olmos-Gallo, P. A., Stanley, S. M., Prado, L. M., Kline, G. H. & Markman, H. J. (2007). Depressive symptoms in early marriage: Predictions from relationship confidence and negative marital interaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 297-306.

Whitton, S.W., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. J. (2007). If I help my partner, will it hurt me? Perceptions of sacrifice in romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 64-92.

Dr. Sarah Whitton