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Leslie Gordon Simons


Contact Info

116 Baldwin Hall
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Dr. Leslie Gordon Simons, Professor of Sociology and Fellow at the Owen's Institute of Social and Behavioral Research, joined the University of Georgia faculty in 2002. She has previously held faculty appointments in the Department of Sociology at Clemson University, the School of Criminology at Arizona State University and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at UGA. 

Leslie's primary areas of expertise are Family, Criminology, and Gender. Her program of research focuses on the socio-contextual predictors and consequences of various family processes as well as the mediators and moderators of the relationship between experiences in the family of origin and outcomes for adolescents and emerging adults. Specifically, she examines the intergenerational transmission of problem behaviors and the mechanisms that link family processes to behavioral outcomes such as delinquency, intimate partner violence, and risky sex, with emphasis on gender differences.

Her work has been published in top journals in sociology (e.g., American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Journal of Health & Social Behavior) as well as her areas of specialization including family (e.g., Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Psychology), crime & deviance (e.g., Criminology, Violence & Victims), gender (Sex Roles, Violence Against Women), and adolescent development (e.g., Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Youth & Society). She frequently collaborates with graduate student co-authors on her publications.

Leslie is a co-Investigator on over $16 million in funding for the the Family and Community Health Study, a multi-site, longitudinal project funded by the National Institutes on Health and the Centers for Disease Control. She is a Deputy Editor of Feminist Criminology, serves on the editorial board of Journal of Youth and Adolescence, represents the Department of Sociology on the Franklin Faculty Senate and is a member of UGA's Teaching Academy. She also holds affiliate faculty status in the Criminal Justice Studies program and the Department of Women's Studies.

In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on Sociology of Family, Family Violence and Intimate Relationships, Leslie frequently mentors students in independent/directed studies and CURO projects, including honor's theses. 

  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, Iowa State University, 1999-2000
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Iowa State University, 1999
  • M.S., Sociology, University of Central Arkansas, 1993
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Central Arkansas, 1991
Of Note:
  • Honors and Awards

2020 Teaching Excellence Award - First Year Odyssey Seminar

2019 Senior Teaching Fellow

2018 Online Teaching Fellow

2003 Reuben Hill Award from the National Council on Family Relations

2002 Best Presentation, Southern Sociological Society

1999 Research Excellence Award, Iowa State University

Selected Publications:
  • Simons, L.G. & Steele, M.E. (in press). The negative impact of economic hardship on adolescent academic engagement: An examination parental investment and family stress processes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

  • Sutton, T.E., Simons, L.G., & Tyler, K. (in press).  Hooking up and sexual victimization on campus: Examining moderators of risk. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. DOI: 10.1177/0886260519842178

  • Simons, L.G., Sutton, T.E., Granberg, E., Landor, A. & Bryant, C. (2019). Gender differences in the dating experiences of African American young adults: The challenge of forming romantic relationships within the context of power imbalance. Youth & Society. DOI:10.1177/0044118X19828097

  • Landor, A.M., Simons, L.G. & Granberg, E. (2019). Colorizing self-esteem: An investigation of mechanisms linking skin tone and sexual behavior among African American young women. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28: 1886-1898.

  • Barr, A., Simons, L.G., Beach, S., & Simons, R. (2018). Worried sick? The transition to adulthood and its toll on African American mothers’ health. American Sociological Review, 83: 143-172.

  • Simons, L.G., Sutton, T.E., Shannon, S., & Berg, M. Gibbons, F.X. (2017). The cost of being cool: How adolescent pseudomature behavior maps onto adult behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

  • Sutton, T., Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Cutrona, C. & Barr, A. (2017). Psychological distress, couple interactions and parenting: A dyadic analysis of African American couples. Journal of Marriage and Family, 79, 850-864.
  • Simons, L.G., Wickrama, K.A.S., Lee, T.K., Landers-Potts, M., Cutrona, C. & Conger, R. (2016). Testing family stress and family investment explanations for conduct problems among African American adolescents.  Journal of Marriage and Family
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  • Berg, M.T., Burt, C.H., Lei, M., Simons, L.G., Stewart, E.A., & Simons, R.L. (2016). Rethinking neighborhood cultural processes and adolescent sexual partnering activities: The player in context. Social Forces, 94, 1823-1846.
  • Simons, L.G., Sutton, T. E., Gibbons, F.X., Murry, V.M., Simons, R.L. (2016). Mechanisms that link parenting practices to adolescents’ risky sexual behavior: A test of six competing theories. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 255-270.
  • Landers-Potts, M., Wickrama, K., Simons, L.G., Gibbons, F.X., Cutrona, C., & Conger, R.D. (2015)An extension and moderational analysis of the family stress model focusing on African American adolescents. Family Relations, 64, 233-248.
  • Sutton, T.E. & Simons, L.G. (2015). Campus sexual assault in the U.S.: Examining hostility in the family of origin, attachment style, and the hook-up culture as risk factors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 2827-2840.
  • Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Landor, A.M., Bryant, C.M. & Beach, S.R.H.  (2014). Identifying links between childhood parenting experiences and adult romantic relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 368-379. 
  • Lei, M.K., Simons, R.L., Simons, L.G., & Edmond, M.B. (2014). Gender equality and violent behavior: How neighborhood gender equality influences the gender gap in violence. Violence and Victims, 29, 89-108.
  • Simons, L.G., Su, X. and Simons, R.L. (2013). Consequences of corporal punishment for African Americans: The importance of context and outcome.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1273-1285.
  • Simons, L.G., Burt, C.H., & Tambling, R. (2013). Identifying mediators for the influence of family factors on risky sexual behavior. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22: 460-470.
  • Landor, A.M., Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Bryant, C.M., Brody, G.H., Granberg, E., & Melby, J.N. (2013). Exploring the impact of skin tone on colorism within families  and race-related outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 27: 817-826.
  • Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Lei, M. K., Fincham, F., & Hancock, D.L. (2012). Parental warmth amplifies the effect of parental hostility on dating violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,13: 2603-2626.
  • Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Lei, M.K., Sutton, T.E. (2012). Exposure to harsh parenting and pornography as explanations for males’ sexual coercion and females’ sexual victimization. Violence and Victims, 3: 378-395.
  • Landor, A., Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., Brody, G.H., & Gibbons, F.X. (2011).The influence of religion on African American adolescents’ risky sexual behaviorJournal of Youth and Adolescence, 40: 296-309.
  • Simons, R.L., Simons, L.G., & Hancock, D.L. (2011). Linking family processes and delinquency: Issues, theories and research findings. In D. Bishop and B. Feld (Eds.), Handbook on Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice (pp. 175-202). New York: Oxford University Press.

        Simons, L.G., Burt, C.H., & Peterson, F.R. (2009).  The effect of religiosity on risky sexual behaviors among college              students. Deviant Behavior, 30: 467-485.

  • Simons, L. G. & Burt, C.H., & Simons, R.L. (2008). A test of explanations for the effect of harsh parenting on the perpetration of dating violence and sexual coercion among college males. Violence and Victims, 23: 66-82.
  • Simons, L. G., Granberg, E., Chen, Y., Simons, R.L., Conger, R.D., Brody, G.H., & Murry, V.M. (2008). Differences between European Americans and African Americans in the association between child obesity and   disrupted parenting. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 39: 589-610.
  • Simons, L. G. & Conger, R.D.  (2007). Linking gender differences in parenting to a typology of family parenting styles and adolescent developmental outcomes.  Journal of Family Issues, 28: 212-241.
  • Simons, L. G., Chen, Y., Simons, R.L., Cutrona C., & Brody, G.H. (2006). Parental behavior and child conduct problems in different types of households.  Journal of Family Issues, 27: 777-802.
  • Burt, C., Simons, R.L., & Simons, L.G. (2006).  A longitudinal test of the general theory of crime's predictions regarding the effects of parenting and the stability of self-control. Criminology, 44:353-396.
  • Simons, R. L., Simons, L.G., & Wallace, L. (2005). Families, Delinquency & Crime: Linking Society’s Most Basic Institution to Antisocial Behavior.  New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Simons, L. G., Simons, R.L., Lin, K. & Conger, R.D. (2004).  Identifying the mechanisms whereby family religiosity influences the probability of adolescent antisocial behavior. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 35: 547-63.
  • Simons, L. G., Simons, R. L., Conger, R.D. & Brody, G.H. (2003).  Collective socialization and child conduct problems:  A multi-level analysis with African Americans. Youth and Society, 35: 267-292.
  • External Funding
  • 2016 Co-Investigator, “Psychosocial Context and the Biological Clock: Changes in Weathering during Middle-Age,” National Institutes of Health, $3.25 million
  • 2014 Co-Investigator, “Romantic Partner Effects on Biomarkers of Health Risk among African Americans.” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, $3.8 million.
  • 2013 Co-Investigator, “Individual and Family Stressors in Childhood and Adulthood as Predictors of Biomarkers for Health Risk .” National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute, $3 million.
  • 2009 Co-Investigator, “Community Context and Violence: African American Youths’ Transition to Adulthood.” Centers for Disease Control, $1 million.
  • 2007 Co-Investigator, “Risk and Resilience among Young Adults in an African American Sample.” National Institutes on Mental Health, $3.6 million.
  • 2004 Co-Investigator, “Community Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Violence,” Centers for Disease Control, $1.96 million.