Zoe Peterson

Zoë Peterson, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Director, Kinsey Institute Sexual Assault Research Initiative

Professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology

Dr. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and maintains a dual appointment with the Kinsey Institute and the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology. She also is Director of the Kinsey Institute’s Sexual Assault Initiative.

Dr. Peterson researches sexual consent, sexual assault, sexual coercion, and unwanted sex. She has studied men’s and women’s experiences as both victims and perpetrators of sexual aggression. Dr. Peterson’s most recent research has focused on sexual assault victims’ cognitive appraisals of their nonconsensual sexual experiences, on improving self-report measurement of sexual aggression, and on developing and evaluating a sex-positive sexual assault prevention intervention.

Dr. Peterson also is a Licensed Psychologist with a particular interest in sex therapy, and she recently edited the Wiley Handbook of Sex Therapy. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sex Research and was elected President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality for 2019-2021.

 (812) 855-7686

428 Lindley Hall
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405


  • Ph.D., Psychology (Clinical Emphasis), University of Kansas
  • M.A., Psychology (Clinical Emphasis), University of Kansas
  • Graduate Certificate, Gender Studies, University of Kansas
  • B.A., Psychology, Macalester College

Research interests

  • Sexual assault / sexual coercion / rape
  • Sexual consent and sexual communication
  • Gender roles and their relationship to sex
  • Unwanted sex and sexual ambivalence

Selected publications


Peterson, Z. D. (Ed.). (2017). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of sex therapy. Oxford, England: Wiley-Blackwell. (Winner of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) Book of the Year Award.)

Journal articles and book chapters

Peterson, Z. D., Beagley, M. C., McCallum, E., & Artime, T. M. (2018). Sexual attitudes and behaviors among men who are victims, perpetrators, or both victims and perpetrators of adult sexual assault. Psychology of Violence. Advance online publication.

Peterson, Z. D., Janssen, E., Goodrich, D., Fortenberry, J. D., Hensel, D., & Heiman, J. R. (2018). Child sexual abuse and negative affect as shared risk factors for sexual aggression and HIV risky sex in heterosexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 465-480.

Muehlenhard, C. L., Peterson, Z. D., Humphreys, T., & Jozkowski, K. N. (2017). Evaluating the one-in-five statistic: Women’s risk of sexual assault while in college. Journal of Sex Research, 54, 549-576.

Strang, E., & Peterson, Z. D. (2016). Use of a bogus pipeline to detect men’s intentional underreporting of their sexually aggressive behavior. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication.

Peterson, Z. D., Voller, E., Polusny, M., A., & Murdoch, M. (2011). Prevalence and consequences of adult sexual assault of men: Review of empirical findings and state of the literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 1-24.

Peterson, Z. D., & Muehlenhard, C. L. (2007). Conceptualizing the "wantedness" of women's consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences: Implications for how women label their experiences with rape. Journal of Sex Research, 44, 72-88.

Recent grants, contracts, and other funding (selected)

  • 2017-2018
    A Controlled Trial of a Sex Education Program to Improve Sexual Consent Skills
    Agency: Association of Title IX Administrators
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • 2017-2018
    Measuring Sexual Violence: A Comparison of U.S. and Colombian College Students
    Agency: University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Arts and Sciences Research Award
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • 2008-2010
    Sexual Aggression and HIV Risk in Young, Heterosexual Men
    Agency: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    Role: Principal Investigator

CV available upon request

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