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Erika Grafsky

Erika Grafsky, Associate Professor

Erika Grafsky, Associate Professor
Erika Grafsky, Associate Professor

Department of Human Development and Family Science
295 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-6782 |

Erika Grafsky is an associate professor of human development and family science at Virginia Tech and the director of graduate studies. The goal of my research is to improve the psychosocial health of LGBTQ+ individuals and their families.  I use qualitative and mixed-methods analytic strategies to understand the processes through which individuals and their families experience non-heterosexual sexualities and diverse gender identities, with a focus on sexual orientation disclosure decision making and well-being.  I engage traditional and critical theories to emphasize relational processes informed by human development and embedded within larger contexts.  I enjoy involving undergraduate and graduate students as part of my research team.

Accepting new grad students: Yes
In need of students for research team: Yes
Name of research team: Thriving Lives: LGBTQ+ Family Research

  • Psychosocial Health and Well-Being of LGBTQ+ Individuals and their Families
  • LGBT Affirmative Therapy Practices
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Intervention Development
  • Ph.D., The Ohio State University
  • M.S., The University of Kentucky
  • B.S., The Ohio State University
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Human Development and Family Science 
  • Faculty Affiliate, Virginia Tech, Women and Gender Studies Program
  • Faculty Affiliate, Virginia Tech, Health Sciences, Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health Program
  • Member, National Council on Family Relations
  • 2017 Scholar of the Week, Sponsored through the Virginia Tech Office of the Vice President for Research, August
  • 2017 Jo Ann Underwood Ally of the Year, sponsored through the Virginia Tech LGBT Caucus
  • 2016 Favorite Faculty Member, Virginia Tech Office of Housing and Residential Life
  • 2010 National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Student/New Professional Award, $1000.

Journal Articles

Kaestle, C. E., Allen, K. R., Wesche, R., & Grafsky, E. L. (2021). Adolescent sexual development: A family perspective. The Journal of Sex Research, 58, 874-890. doi:10.1080/00224499.2021.1924605 

*Nedela, M., Hartwell, E. & Grafsky, E. L. (2021). What female bisexual couples want therapists to know: An exploratory investigation using thematic analysis. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 1-25. doi:10.1080/15332691.2021.1920532 

*Tankersley, A. P., Grafsky, E. L., Dike, J., & Jones, R. T. (2021). Risk and resilience factors for mental health among transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) Youth: A systematic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 24, 183-206. doi:10.1007/s10567-021-00344-6

Grafsky, E. L., & *Gary, E. A. (2018). What LGBT youth want in a program to assist with disclosing to their family. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 30, 172-191. doi:10.1080/10538720.2018.1444526

Grafsky, E. L., *Hickey, K. A., *Nguyen, H., & *Wall, J. (2018). Youth disclosure of sexual orientation to siblings and extended family. Family Relations, 67, 147-160. doi:10.1111/fare.12299

*Lavender-Stott, E. S., Grafsky, E. L., *Nguyen, H. N., *Haugen, E., & *Steelman, S. M. (2018). Challenges and strategies of sexual minority research in Southwest Virginia. Journal of Homosexuality, 65, 691-704. doi:10.1080/00918369.2017.1364104

Grafsky, E. L. (2017). Deciding to come out to family: Towards a model of sexual orientation disclosure decisions. Family Process. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/famp.12313

*Nguyen, H. N., Grafsky, E. L., & Piercy, F. P. (2016). MFT program policies on referral of LGBTQ clients. Contemporary Family Therapy, 38, 307-317. doi:10.1007/s10591-016-9389-3

Hickey, K., & Grafsky, E. L. (2016). Family relationships and religious identities of GLBQ Christians. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 13, 1-21. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2015.1129660

Grafsky, E. L. (2014). Becoming the parent of a GLB son or daughter. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 10, 36-57. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2014.857240

Hartwell, E., Serovich, J. M., Grafsky, E. L., & Kerr, Z. (2012). Coming out of the dark: Content analysis of articles pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues in couple and family therapy journals. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38, 227-243. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00274.x

Book Chapters

Grafsky, E. L. (2016). Couples Therapy. In A. E. Goldberg (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies. (2000 words; pp. 261-263). NY: Sage.

Grafsky, E. L. & Nguyen, H. (2015). Affirmative Therapy with LGBTQ+ Families. In S. W. Browning & K. Pasley (Eds.), Contemporary Families: Translating Research Into Practice, (pp. 196-212). Rutledge.

  • Grafsky, E.L. (2013). Figuring it out:  A community-based, participatory approach to develop an intervention to assist sexual minority youth in making disclosure decisions to family.  Virginia Tech Institute of Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE). Role: Principal Investigator. Amount: $16,000. 
  • Grafsky, E. L. (2010-2011). Formative research on disclosure and substance use for LGB youth and their families. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Role: Principal Investigator. Mentors: Julie Serovich, Ph.D.; Natasha Slesnick, Ph.D. Amount: $54,000. R36 Dissertation grant R36DA026958. Disposition: Submitted October 16, 2008, Resubmitted July 6, 2009. Score: 21. Awarded.

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