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Laina Bay-Cheng

Associate Professor, PhD Program Director

"I see gender norms and sexism as risk factors since they often undercut young women’s access to social and material resources and their leverage in negotiating with male partners. These ideas drive my current study of how socioeconomic resources and future prospects affect young women’s investment and power in heterosexual romantic relationships."

Contact Information

622 Baldy Hall
Amherst, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-1225
Fax: 716-645-3456
Email: lb35@buffalo.edu

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Contact Information

622 Baldy Hall, Amherst, NY 14260 (view map)
Phone: 716-645-1225; Fax: 716-645-3456
Email: lb35@buffalo.edu

Education

  • PhD, Social Work and Psychology, University of Michigan (2003)
  • MA, Personality Psychology, University of Michigan (2000)
  • MSW, Practice with Children & Youth, University of Michigan (1998)
  • BA, Psychology and Women’s Studies, Wellesley College (1995)

Professional/Research Interests

Construction of adolescent sexuality; cultivation of young women's sexual subjectivity; gendered power; youth empowerment; feminist theories and methods

Biography

Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Laina Bay-Cheng earned her PhD from the University at Michigan, completing the joint program in Social Work and Psychology. She joined the School of Social Work in 2005 and has served as PhD Program Director since 2012. Since the beginning of her career, she has concentrated on the social determinants of young women’s sexual well-being. In contrast to the dominant equation of youth sexuality with risk, Bay-Cheng contends that young women’s vulnerability to negative sexual experiences stems from unjust social norms and material conditions. Reflecting her interdisciplinary background and perspective, Bay-Cheng uses diverse theories and methods in her scholarship and publishes in well-regarded journals across disciplines. She is pursuing two lines of questioning in her current research projects: 1) how young women’s sexual experiences, including of unwanted sex, vary at intersections of gender, class, and race; and 2) the impact of neoliberal ideology on constructions of young women’s sexuality. She also continues to collect data using the Sexual Life History Calendar protocol she developed, including a recently completed study using a newly digitized, self-administered version of it. Bay-Cheng is also a committed advocate for comprehensive and critically conscious sexuality education.