Ritch Savin-Williams
Professor / Department Chair

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
Graduate Fields of Human Development; Psychology; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Studies

Current Research Activities
Dr. Savin-Williams' current research interests focus on the psychological well-being of same-sex attracted youth and adults and the sexual development of male youth. Emphasis is placed on developmental processes among sexual minorities, especially differential developmental trajectories, identity development, relations with family, and gender nonconformity.

Current Extension Activities
Promoting the well-being and resiliency of sexual-minority adolescents and young adults.


Biographical Statement
Ritch C. Savin-Williams is professor and chair of Human Development at Cornell University. He received the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he studied sex differences in dominance hierarchy formation at summer camp. His courses are cross-listed with Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Dr. Savin-Williams has written seven books on adolescent development. The latest, The New Gay Teenager (Harvard University Press, 2005) follows previous books on the lives of youth with same-sex attractions: “Mom, Dad. I’m Gay.” How Families Negotiate Coming Out” (American Psychological Association, 2001), ". . . And Then I Became Gay." Young Men's Stories (Routledge, 1998), and Gay and Lesbian Youth: Expressions of Identity (Hemisphere, 1990). With Kenneth M. Cohen, Dr. Savin-Williams co-edited an undergraduate textbook on sexual minorities: The Lives of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals: Children to Adults (Harcourt Brace, 1996).

Dr. Savin-Williams is currently writing about the experiences of growing up with same-sex attractions, the resiliency and mental health of sexual-minority youth, and the sexual development of heterosexual youth. His research on differential developmental trajectories attempts to supplant our generic, stage models of identity development with a perspective that explores the similarities of sexual-minority youth with all youth and the ways in which sexual-minority adolescents vary among themselves and from heterosexual youth.

Dr. Savin-Williams is also a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice specializing in identity, relationship, and family issues among sexual-minority young adults. He has served as an expert witness on same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and Boy Scout court cases and is on numerous professional review boards. He has served as a consultant for MTV, 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and CNN and his work has been cited in Newsweek, Time, Rolling Stone, Parent Magazine, Utne Reader, New York Magazine, Fortune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and Chicago Sun Times. Dr. Savin-Williams received the 2001 Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution, the 2005 Outstanding Book Award from Division 44 of the American Psychological Association for The New Gay Teenager, the 2006 APA Science Directorate’s Master Lecture in developmental psychology, 2009 APA Plenary Address, and fellow status from the Association for Psychological Science. He has also written junior high school curriculum materials for the Unitarian Universalist Association, Beyond Pink and Blue: Exploring Our Stereotypes of Sexuality and Gender.

Administrative Responsibilities
Chair of Human Development

Social and personality development, group disparities in development, adolescence, youth, sexuality, sexual behavior, gay, sexual orientation, identity, friends, peers, young adulthood

Courses, Websites, Pubs

Related Websites

Research Website:

Selected Publications