Skip to main content

Janna Dickenson

Assistant Teaching Professor

Dr. Dickenson is a licensed psychologist and received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Utah in 2017. Dr. Dickenson’s research, advocacy, teaching, and clinical work focus on increasing sexual literacy across people of all sexual orientations and genders, with the aim to enhance population sexual well-being. Her research empirically examines beliefs about sexuality and well-being and investigates the links between neurobiology, sexuality, and well-being. For example, is sexual activity in youth good or bad for mental health? Can people volitionally induce a shift in their pattern of sexual responses? Are people who are particularly responsive to mindfulness interventions also more responsive to sexual stimuli and is this heightened sensitivity also reflected in their pattern of oxytocin release? Currently, she is interested in understanding whether promoting sexual well-being can enhance treatment and prevention efforts that target non-consensual sexual interactions, gender-based discrimination, and sexual problems and disorders (e.g., out of control sexual behavior). 

Dr. Dickenson is impassioned by training students and mental health professionals in sexual health and well-being and finding ways to promote access to scientific knowledge about gender and sexuality. More broadly, she enjoys getting to know future leaders in mental health, help clinical psychology majors develop a clinical science perspective, and prepare students to consider (and eventually solve) the current controversies in the mental health field. She looks forward to involving students, trainees, and professionals as collaborators in her research, advocacy, teaching, and clinical work.

  • Dickenson, J. A., Diamond, L., King, J. B., Jenson, K., & Anderson, J. S. (2020). Understanding heterosexual women’s erotic flexibility: the role of attention in sexual evaluations and neural responses to sexual stimuli. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15 (4), 447–465, https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsaa058 (PDF)
  • Diamond, L. M., Alley, J., Dickenson, J., & Blair, K. (2019) Who Counts as Sexually Fluid? Comparing Four Different Types of Sexual Fluidity in Women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49, 2389–2403. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01565-1 (PDF)
  • Dickenson, J., Berkman, E. T., Arch, J., & Lieberman, M. D. (2013). Neural correlates of focused attention during a brief mindfulness induction. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 8(1), 40–47. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss030 (PDF)
  • Dickenson, J. A., & Huebner, D. M. (2016). The Relationship Between Sexual Activity and Depressive Symptoms in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth: Effects of Gender and Family Support. Archives of Sexual behavior, 45(3), 671–681. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0571-8 (PDF)
  • Dickenson, J. A., Alley, J., & Diamond, L. M. (2019). Subjective and oxytocinergic responses to mindfulness are associated with subjective and oxytocinergic responses to sexual arousal. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1101. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01101 (PDF)
  • Dickenson, J. A., Gleason, N., Coleman, E., & Miner, M. H. (2018). Prevalence of Distress Associated With Difficulty Controlling Sexual Urges, Feelings, and Behaviors in the United States. JAMA network open, 1(7), e184468. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.4468

Updated October 2020