Brooke E. Wells

Brooke E. Wells, PhD

  • Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Gender & Sexuality

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Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Social Psychology (2008)
    Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY)

About Me

I received a PhD in social psychology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and my research focuses on HIV prevention, sexual minority communities, and the associations between substance use and sexual behavior. As a sexuality educator, I am dedicated to teaching students about gender and sexuality from a multidisciplinary perspective that incorporates content and methodological perspectives from social psychology, health psychology, clinical psychology, and public health.

Across content courses, I strive to teach critical thinking and writing skills that will transcend the subject matter to provide skills useful to students both in and beyond the classroom. Further, my continued engagement in research provides ideal opportunities for student involvement at all levels of the research process, wherein students build research and professional skills and also apply classroom principles to the real world.

Research Interests

My research focuses on sexual health behavior and the social, developmental, contextual, and psychological factors that influence sexual decision-making, particularly in substance-involved contexts. My overarching professional goals are to produce theoretically grounded research that informs understandings of sexual health behavior, thus providing specific targets on which to intervene to improve sexual health outcomes.

To address these research aims, I conduct research wherein I employ a variety of methodologies, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods designs. In the pursuit of these goals, I apply social psychological perspectives to investigate two overarching questions that guide my research agenda: (1) What are the social influences on sexual health behaviors and for whom and how are those factors influential? and (2) What are the psychosocial factors involved in sexual decisions and relationships and what are the mechanisms of action and interaction among these factors?.

Media Expertise

  • Substance use and abuse
  • Substance use and sexual behavior
  • HIV
  • Sexual risk behavior


  • Kim, J., & Wells, B. E. (in press). Assessing alcohol and sexual content on reality dating programs. Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
  • Twenge, J.M., Sherman, R., & Wells, B. E. (in press). Changes in American adults’ sexual behavior and attitudes, 1972–2012. Provisionally accepted. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1–13.
  • Wells, B.E., Starks, J.T., Parsons, J.T., & Golub, S.A. (2014). Conflict and sexual expectancies interact to predict sexual behavior under the influence among gay and bisexual men. Journal of Health Psychology, 19(7), 821–835.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Psychological Association (APA), Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS)


  • National Institutes of Drug Abuse R03 (R03DA033868) (2012–2014)
  • Hunter College Travel Award (2014)


In the Media


  • Human Sexuality Studies Professor Awarded NIH Grant

    Dr. Brooke Wells, an associate professor and program director of Widener’s Human Sexuality Studies PhD, was recently awarded more than $41,000 as a co-investigator on a three-year project funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health.* 

    The research, titled “The development and validation of a novel paradigm for assessing sexual assault risk perception in MSM (men who have sex with men),” is being led by investigators at Rowan University who were granted a total award of $425,541, alongside collaborators from Central Connecticut State University. 

    The research project will address the significant problem of sexual violence for sexual minorities, especially men who have sex with men, and will serve as a useful step in creating tools to enhance prevention efforts in this susceptible population. Wells will lend her expertise in HIV and sexual assault research areas, as well as provide input and logistical support in recruitment and assessment in diverse populations of men who have sex with men.  

    *Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15AA028637. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. 

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