Picture of Charlotte Patterson

Charlotte J. Patterson

Title:
Professor of Psychology and Director of the interdisciplinary Women, Gender & Sexuality Program at the University of Virginia
Email:
patterson@virginia.edu
Website:

Areas of Expertise

Charlotte Patterson is the world’s expert on psychological research on children and youth raised by lesbian and gay parents. Since the early 1990’s she has worked tirelessly, conducting carefully designed research on these families using the most rigorous scientific methods. She was the first social scientist to provide analytic syntheses of the literature on the subject, greatly influencing other researchers in child and family development, and, importantly, influencing policy-makers. By encouraging researchers working in human development fields to focus on developmental aspects of sexual orientation, she has changed the entire field. Her work has touched the lives of countless families. Her research has been instrumental in many court cases, as well as discussions of same-sex marriage.

Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the interdisciplinary Women, Gender & Sexuality program at the University of Virginia, where much of her work has focused on child development in lesbian- and gay-parented families. Patterson’s  research with children and families has been published in the field’s top journals, and she has co-edited four books on the psychology of sexual orientation.  She was a guest editor of the 2008 special section of Developmental Psychology focused on ‘Sexual Orientation Over the Lifespan’, and has served as a member of several editorial boards. 

Patterson is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) as well as of the American Psychological Association (APA), and a past-President of the Society for Psychological Research on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Issues (APA, Division 44).

She served as a member of the United States Institute of Medicine Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. Her latest book, co-edited with Anthony R. D’Augelli, Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation (Oxford University Press) was published in 2013.

Current Research

Dr. Patterson is the author of more than 100 research papers and chapters.

Education

B.A., Pomona College, M.A., Stanford University, Ph.D., Stanford University.

Publications

Textbook Title: "Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation" (Oxford University Press, USA) – 2012 by Charlotte J Patterson, Ph.D. (Editor), Anthony R D'Augelli, Ph.D. (Editor). ISBN-13: 9780199765218, 320 pages. 

Description: A tremendous outpouring of psychological research on sexual orientation has occurred in recent years, and interested readers have been hard-pressed to keep up with the pace of scholarship in this field. In particular, the last decade has seen a great increase in research on psychology and sexual orientation. The first authoritative summary of its kind in this area, Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation is the primary resource for the many researchers, including a new generation of investigators, who are continuing to advance understanding in this field. Volume editors Charlotte J. Patterson and Anthony R. D'Augelli, along with other leading experts, contribute an extraordinary review of contemporary psychological research and theory on sexual orientation in their specific fields of work. The book is divided in four parts: Concepts, Theories, and Perspectives; Development over the Life Course; Domains of Experience; and Communities and Contextual Issues. Individual chapters focus on topics such as bisexual and transgender identities, biological foundations of sexual orientation, emergent adulthood in lesbian and gay lives, same-sex romantic relationships, sexual orientation and mental health, family formation and parenthood, sexual orientation and hate crimes, and race and ethnicity among lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities, along with many more relevant areas. This comprehensive volume will be invaluable to undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and scholars, and professionals who work with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, and in the fields of developmental, social, clinical, community, and counseling psychology.


Textbook Title: “Infancy & Childhood” (McGraw-Hill, USA) 2008 by Charlotte J Patterson, Ph.D. ISBN-13: 9780073355894, 592 pages. 

Description: "Infancy and Childhood", brings the research to life through stories. What prompted researcher Virginia Apgar to develop what became the Apgar Test on newborns? Who knew that psychologist Eleanor Gibson' famous 'visual cliff' experiment was inspired by her own toddler's experience of hesitation in approaching the edge of the Grand Canyon? These stories help students appreciate the relevance of theory, helping them internalize research-intensive material. Through integrating such stories, this text blends scientific rigor with accessibility. This text covers child development from infancy through pre-adolescence.


Textbook Title: "Child Development" (McGraw-Hill, USA) 2008 by Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D.  ISBN: 0072347953, 674 pages.

Description: Child Development brings the research to life through stories. What prompted researcher Virginia Apgar to develop what became the Apgar Test on newborns? Who knew that psychologist Eleanor Gibson' famous "visual cliff" experiment was inspired by her own toddler's experience of hesitation in approaching the edge of the Grand Canyon? These stories help students appreciate the relevance of theory, helping them internalize research-intensive material. Through integrating such stories, this text melds the scientific rigor you are looking for in a child development text with the accessibility your students desire.


Textbook Title: “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities and Youth: Psychological Perspectives” (Oxford University Press, USA) 2001 by Anthony D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D. ISBN-13: 9780195119534, 9780195119527. 304 pages.

Description: Changes in biological processes, relationships, and community interactions influence the emergence of sexuality in all young people. The process is more complex and difficult for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) teenagers. Fortunately, the cultural changes that have allowed LGB youths to become more open about themselves at earlier ages have also allowed social and behavioral scientists the opportunity to study them. The essays in this volume explore the psychological dimensions of LGB identities from puberty to adulthood. The essays focus on three general areas: theoretical frameworks that are important in understanding the development of sexual orientation in adolescence, challenges faced by LGB youth, and issues related to interventions and services for LGB youths in community settings. This volume presents authoritative, research-based reviews of this ever-increasing area of study and social concern.


Textbook Title: "Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities in Families: Psychological Perspectives" (Oxford University Press) 1998 by Anthony D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D. ISBN-13:9780195110494. 320 Pages.

Description: Traditional understandings of families incorporate the assumption that both parents and children are heterosexual. Only quite recently have psychological research and theory examined lesbian, gay, and bisexual lives within the context of families. In Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities in Families, Charlotte J. Patterson and Anthony R. D'Augelli draw together the psychological research and examine the entire multifaceted experience of such relationships. The editors bring together the most important recent scholarship and empirical research on family relationships and dynamics, and they identify directions for future research and theory in this area. The first section of the book discusses different perspectives on sexual orientation in families. It focuses on evidence relevant to genetic contributions to sexual orientation, and looks at social interactions and their development. Ethnic identity and family dynamics along with cultural influences on conceptions of sexual orientation and family lives are examined. The next section focuses on key aspects of interpersonal relationships within the families of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals. The interactions between children and parents of different sexual orientations and a variety of intergenerational processes in lesbian-headed families are explored. The final section of the book focuses on community and contextual issues. It explores economic issues, antilesbian/antigay attitudes, social structures,and social policies that affect lesbian and gay family lives. This volume, one of the first to discuss the family relationships of gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women, will be of interest to psychologists, sociologists, social workers, scholars of gay/lesbian/bisexual studies, as well as laypersons.


Textbook Title: “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities Over the Lifespan: Psychological Perspectives” (Oxford University Press, USA) 1995,1996 by Anthony D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson, Ph.D. ISBN-13: 9780195108996, 9780195082319. 472 pages.

Description: Over the last fifteen years, psychological research regarding sexual orientation has seen explosive growth. In this book, Anthony R. D'Augelli and Charlotte J. Patterson bring together top experts to offer a comprehensive overview of what we have discovered--and what we still need to learn--about lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities. Writing in clear, nontechnical language, the contributors cover a range of topics, including conceptions of sexual identity, development over the lifespan, family and other personal relationships, parenting, and bigotry and discrimination. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities Over the Lifespan is essential reading for researchers, students, social scientists, mental health practitioners, and general readers who seek the most up-to-date and authoritative treatment of the subject available.

Distinctions

She has won many awards, including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the APA Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns, the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from APA Division 44, and the Carolyn Attneave Diversity Award, for contributions that advance understanding of diversity into Family Psychology, from APA Division 43. Patterson was also the recipient of APA’s 2009 Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy Award.