Ronald Werner-Wilson

Professional Profile

Ronald Werner-Wilson joined the faculty in the Department of Family Sciences in August 2007.  His research has focused in two areas: (1) adolescence and (2) marriage and family therapy process research.  Dr. Werner-Wilson has investigated gender influences within each of these research streams.  The research on adolescence represents a multidisciplinary approach to understanding this part of the lifespan and most of the articles have implications for social policy.

Adolescent Sexuality
In one publication he and his colleagues suggested that two related factors might impede the impact of sexuality education: (a) sexuality education programs are rarely based on empirical research and (b) empirical research on adolescent sexuality has been fragmented so application to program development has been impaired (Werner-Wilson, Wahler, & Kreutzer, 1998).  Dr. Werner-Wilson has published a series of articles that attempt to understand multiple influences and contextual factors associated with adolescent and young adult sexuality that include implications for sexuality education (Bowling & Werner-Wilson, 2000; Fitzharris & Werner-Wilson, 2004; Werner-Wilson, 1998a; Werner-Wilson, 1998b; Werner-Wilson & Fitzharris, 2001; Werner-Wilson, Fitzharris, & Morrissey, 2004; Werner-Wilson & Vosburg, 1998).

Positive Youth Development
In addition to investigating adolescent sexuality, Dr. Werner-Wilson was a founding member of the Agricultural Experiment Station Project: NC-1002 ("How Do Structured Out of School Activities Contribute to Positive Youth Development?") that was formed in 1999.  He served as the chairperson of that group from 2001-2002.  This multi-state project was formed to study the relationship between structured-out-of-school experiences and positive youth development.  The group was formally recognized by the Department of Agriculture and were approved for a five-year term.  Dr. Werner-Wilson obtained funding to collect pilot data that has been used for two completed theses, both of which have been published (Chapman & Werner-Wilson, 2008; Morrissey & Werner-Wilson, 2005).

Intervention with Adolescents
In addition to publishing empirical articles that have investigated adolescence and marriage and family therapy, Dr. Werner-Wilson has published material associated with adolescent treatment.  For example, he completed a scholarly book: Developmental-Systemic Family Therapy with Adolescents (Werner-Wilson, 2001) that integrated his interest in adolescence with marriage and family therapy.  The book, which is influenced by his interdisciplinary training, includes constructs and research findings from developmental psychology, social psychology, family sciences, systemic family therapy, and social constructionism to provide a pragmatic approach to clinical intervention with adolescents.   Additionally, Dr. Werner-Wilson  contributed a chapter associated with principles of adolescent treatment (Werner-Wilson & Morrissey, 2005) to the Handbook of Adolescent Behavioral Problems: Evidence-Based Approaches to Prevention and Treatment.  Dr. Werner-Wilson also collaborated with Dr. Lue Turner to investigate the experience of girls in a single-sex after school treatment program (Turner & Werner-Wilson, 2008)

Therapy Process
Dr. Werner-Wilson has worked on a series of research articles that have investigated the influence of gender on therapy process (Holm, Werner-Wilson, Cook, & Berger, 2001; Kessler, Werner-Wilson, Cook, & Berger, 2000; Murphy, Cheng, & Werner-Wilson, 2006; Thomas, Werner-Wilson, & Murphy, 2005; Werner-Wilson, 1997; Werner-Wilson & Davenport, 2003a; Werner-Wilson & Davenport, 2003b; Werner-Wilson, Michaels, Thomas, & Thiesen, 2003; Werner-Wilson, Murphy, & Fitzharris, 2004; Werner-Wilson, Price, Zimmerman, & Murphy, 1997; Werner-Wilson, Zimmerman, Daniels-Carlson, & Bowling, 1999; Werner-Wilson, Zimmerman, & Price, 1999).  This research has important implications for training therapists.

Couple Interaction
Dr. Werner-Wilson co-authored a grant proposal that was funded by the National Institute for Mental Health to investigate the influence of physiological arousal on couple communication.  This basic research will contribute to a better understanding about couple communication.  Two manuscripts have published (Vogel, Murphy, Werner-Wilson, Cutrona, Bonett, & Seeman, 2008) and another is in review (Vogel, Werner-Wilson, Liang, Cutrona, Seeman, & Hacker, 2007).


Ph.D., Child and Family Development Marriage / Family Therapy, University of Georgia, 1993
M.S., Sociology, Georgia State University, 1990
B.S., Psychology, Georgia State University, 1988