Picture of Stephen Forssell

Stephen Forssell

Title:
Program Director
Faculty: Full-Time
Office:
Building GG
Address: 2125 G Street, NW
Washington, DC,
20052
Phone: 202-994-6316
Email:
forssell@gwu.edu

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Forssell’s expertise is in sexual orientation development, same-sex romantic relationships and parenting, HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, high risk sexual behavior interventions, adolescent and young adult romantic and sexual relationships, and health psychology.

Dr. Stephen Forssell is the founder, director, and professor of the LGBT Health Policy & Practice Graduate Certificate Program at the George Washington University. In addition, he has been a professor in the Psychology Department at the George Washington University since 2002 where he teaches courses in sexuality and gender, health psychology, and social psychology. He is also co-director of the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Minority Communities and is on the faculty of the GWU Medical Center School of Medicine and Health Sciences course in Human Sexuality and Clinical Medicine. He also serves on the GWU Faculty Advisory Board of the Office of Teaching and Learning. He is also the co-director for the summer institute on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Minority Communities

Current Research

His research activities involve same-sex couple romantic relationships and sexual behaviors, attachment, and child development.  His most recent work investigated parenting capabilities, partner relationship quality, and child outcomes in adoptive gay, lesbian and bisexual parented families. Toddlers and Preschoolers Parenting Study looked at adopted toddlers and pre-school age children raised by gay male, lesbian, and heterosexual parents. There were no differences in child outcomes or family variables based on couple type (opposite sex, same-sex male, same-sex female). The Male Couples Relationships Study examined how male couples of varying sexual openness types (sexually open, closed or “monogamous”, and “no agreement” about sexual exclusivity) compared in the quality of their relationships, psychological adjustment, communication about outside sex, and HIV prevention practices. Results indicated that couples with higher levels of communication about their sexual relationship, including outside sexual activity, showed better couple adjustment and lower levels of jealousy.  Open couples showed lower levels of jealousy than closed couples. Dr. Forssell also designs program evaluations for the Human Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and for private agencies including the National Minority AIDS Council and the AIDS Alliance. You will find a list of his publications below. 

Education

Dr. Forssell received a B.A. in Psychology (with Highest Honors) from the University of Virginia (1998). He received his Masters (2002) and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Denver (2004). He is a graduate of the Kinsey Summer Institutes on High-Risk Sexual Behavior at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

Publications

Forssell, S. L. (in press). New developments in LGBT development: What's new and what's (still) true.  In R. Ruth & E. Santacruz (Eds.) LGBT psychology and mental health: Emerging research and advances. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO.
 
Forssell, S. L., Swift-Erslev, N., Davis, C. J., Ruth, R, Zucker, A. N., Glezen, S. J., Cunningham, M., Parrish, B., Streed, C. G. & Schlittler, R. L. (in press). Quality and equality:  An interdisciplinary graduate program to develop agents of change in LGBT health. In R. Ruth & E. Santacruz (Eds.) LGBT psychology and mental health: Emerging research and advances. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO.
 
Forssell, S., & Poirier, J.M. (2013). Dads who are gay or fathers of LGBT Children. In: A guide for father involvement in systems of care (Edition 2). Washington, DC: Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health, http://www.tapartnership.org

Forssell, S. L., Poirier, J. M. & Kenney, R. (2012) Internet-based information and resources for supporting LGBT youth and providing culturally competent services. Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth: A Guide for Professionals.

Lazear, K., Forssell, S. L., Denny. T. & Roepke, S. (2012). Effective therapeutic and programmatic interventions and resources. In S. K. Fisher, C. Ryan & G. M. Blau (Eds.) Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth: A Guide for Professionals.

Farr, R. H., Forssell, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2010). Parenting and child development in adoptive families: Does parental sexual orientation matter? Applied Developmental Science, 14, 164-178.

Farr, R. H., Forssell, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2010). Gay, lesbian, and heterosexual adoptive parents: Couple and relationship issues. Journal of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Family Studies, 6(2), 199-213.

Forssell, S. L. (2006).  Male couple communication about outside sexual activity.  Division 44 Newsletter, 22(3), 23-24. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

Classes Taught

PSYD 6202  Our Psychology, Ourselves: LGBT Mental Health
PSYD 6221 LGB Youth and Adolescence
PSYC 3150  Psychology of Sex Differences
PSYC 1001 Introduction to Psychology
HONR 2047 Introduction to Psychology: A Perspectives Approach