deb profile

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Deborah L. Tolman is Professor of Social Welfare and Psychology at The Hunter College School of Social Work and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She is also the former director of the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, and Professor of Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. She received her Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1992. Before relocating to San Francisco, Deborah Tolman was a Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Gender and Sexuality Project at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College.

Dr. Tolman is a developmental psychologist whose research has focused on adolescent sexuality, gender development, gender equity and research methods. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Department of Health and Human Services, the Ford Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.  Her groundbreaking book on adolescent girls’ sexuality, Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality, published by Harvard University Press in 2002 and released in paper in 2005, was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Book Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. 

Dr. Tolman is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and has received wide recognition for her contributions to female adolescent development. Her current research program includes a development study of gender, relationships and sexuality that focuses on how messages about masculinity and femininity affect boys’ and girls’ abilities to pursue healthy relationships; developing a phenomenology of adolescent girls’ experiences with oral sex; and a new project to “map” how adolescent sexuality is represented in public discourse and gaps with teens’ actual lives. She is a frequent speaker at professional associations and schools.

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