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Leslie Gordon Simons

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Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Leslie Gordon Simons, Professor of Sociology and Distinguished Scholar with 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, Journal of Interpersonal Violence), 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 principal investigator on an NSF-funded project examining the social and economic impact of COVID on African Americans and is a co-Investigator on over $20 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 Institute 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
  • External Funding
  • Co-Investigator, “Stress, Weathering, and Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Longitudinal Study of Aging African Americans, NIA. $2,788.814.
  • 2020 Principal Investigator, “Economic and Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic for African Americans,” National Science Foundation, $200,000.
  • 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.
Selected Publications:
  • Simons, L.G. & *Brown, A.B. (2022). A developmental perspective on girls’ delinquency: Testing the family stress model. Feminist Criminology, 4: 471-493.
  • Steele, M.E., Sutton, T.E., Brown, A.B., Simons, L.G., & Warren, P.Y. (2022). Explaining intimate partner violence and heavy alcohol use: A test of general strain theory. Feminist Criminology, 17: 163-184.
  • Simons, L. G. & Sutton, T.E. (2021). The long arm of parenting: How variations in parenting styles during  adolescence predict adult criminal behavior. Criminology, 59: 520-544.
  • Simons, L.G. & Sutton, T.E. (2021). A review of feminist scholarship on domestic violence and innovative pathways forward. Feminist Criminology, 16, 239-248.
  • Simons, L.G., Sutton, T.E., Granberg, E., Landor, A. & Bryant, C. (2021). Gender differences in the dating experiences of African American young adults: The challenge of forming romantic relationships within the context of power imbalance. Youth and Society, 53, 3-25.
  • Simons, L.G. & Steele, M.E. (2020). The negative impact of economic hardship on adolescent academic engagement: An examination parental investment and family stress processes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 973-990.
  • Sutton, T.E., Simons, L.G., & Tyler, K. (2020).  Hooking up and sexual victimization on campus: Examining moderators of risk. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36: 8146-8175.
  • 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, 78: 498-515. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 behavior.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40: 296-309.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Of Note:
  • Honors and Awards

2024 Creative Teaching Award

2022 Fellow, Active Learning Summer Institute, UGA

2021 Inclusive Voices Award from American Association of Public Opinion Research

2020 Teaching Excellence Award - First Year Odyssey Seminar, UGA

2019 Senior Teaching Fellow, UGA

2018 Online Teaching Fellow, UGA

2003 Reuben Hill Best Article Award, National Council on Family Relations

2002 Best Presentation, Southern Sociological Society

1999 Research Excellence Award, Iowa State University

Articles Featuring Leslie Gordon Simons

Dr. Leslie Gordon Simons was recognized with the distinction of an Active Learning Leader at the Active Learning Summit in February, following completion of the Active Learning Summer Institute (ALSI).

From left to right,  Steph Hanus, M.A., won the B.O. Williams thesis award, Megan Steele, Ph.D., received the Certificate of Excellence and Alyssa Brown, doctoral candidate, received the Graduate Teaching Award. Dr. Leslie Gordon Simons, second…