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  • Students from Dr. Otten's Lab
  • Psychology Faculty

    Your Psychology Faculty

Luciana Laganà

Luciana Lagana
(818) 677-3868
Office location:
ST 314



  • Post-Doctoral Research Training, 1996-1998, Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Clinical Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 1996-1997, Department of Adult Psychiatry, Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara
  • Psychiatry/Behavioral Medicine Internship, 1995-1996, University of Chicago Medical School
  • Post-Doctoral Research Training, 1994-1996, Sex and Marital Therapy Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Medical Faculty Foundation
  • APA-Approved Post-Doctoral Respecialization in Clinical Psychology, 1995, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., 1992, University of Georgia (Experimental/Cognitive Psychology)
  • Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, 1992, Gerontology Center, University of Georgia
  • M.S., 1989, University of Georgia (Experimental/Cognitive Psychology)
  • Summa cum Laude Psychology Degree, 1985 Department of Psychology, Unversity of Rome "La Sapienza"

Specialty Areas: women's issues, adult behavioral medicine/health psychology, ethnogeriatrics, sex and marital therapy


  • (2011) CSUN Preeminent Scholarly Publications Award                                        
  • (2008) CSUN Visionary Community Service-Learning Award                                      
  • (2006) Scientific Achievement Award from Councilman Smith                                      
  • (1992) American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award                

Courses Taught

  • Psy 230 - Human Sexual Behavior
  • Psy 310 - Behavior Disorders
  • Psy 365 - Introduction to Gerontology
  • Psy 421J - Workshop on Developmental Sexuality
  • Psy 421M - Workshop on Conflict Resolution in Intimate Relations
  • Psy 421N - Workshop on Human Sexuality/Sexual Disorders
  • Psy 465 - Psychology of Aging


 Alamdari, G., & Lagana`, L. (in press). The relationship of older adults’ physical pain to depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A review. Journal of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

Laganà, L., & Prilutsky. R. (in press). A Pilot Psychometric Study on the Validation of the Older Women’s Non-Medical Stress Scale (OWN-MSS) on an Ethnically Diverse Sample. Journal of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, 4(1).

Mamikonian-Zarpas, A., & Laganá, L. (2015). The relationship between older adults’ risk for a future fall and difficulty performing activities of daily living. Journal of Aging and Gerontology, 3, 8-16,

Lagana`, Fobair, P., & Spiegel, D. (2014). Targeting the psychosexual challenges faced by couples with breast cancer: can couples group psychotherapy help? Journal of Women’s Health Care, 3(6), doi: 10.4172/2167-0420.1000205, 

Maciel, M., & Lagana`, L. (2014). Older women’s sexual desire problems: Biopsychosocial factors impacting them and barriers to their clinical assessment. Biomed Central Research International – Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Article ID 107217,

Lagana`, L., Bloom, D.W., & Ainsworth, A. (2013). Urinary incontinence: Its assessment and relationship to depression among community dwelling multi-ethnic older women. The Scientific World Journal,

Lagana`, L., & Garcia, J.J. (2013). The mental health impact of computer and internet training on a multi-ethnic sample of community-dwelling older adults: Results of a pilot randomised controlled trial. International Journal of Biomedical science, 9(3),

Laganá, L., White, T., Bruzzone, D.E., & Bruzzone, C.E. (2013). Exploring the sexuality of African American older women. British Journal of Medicine & Medical Research, 4(5), 1129-1148,

White, T., & Laganá, L. (2013). Factors influencing older black women’s sexual functioning and their disclosure of sexual concerns. OA Women’s Health, 1(1), 10,

Oliver, T. L., Laganà, L., Ainsworth, A., & Otten, M. (2012). A path analysis testing the relationship between sexual upbringing and sexual satisfaction in a U.S. sample of ethnically diverse women. In S. Mottola (Ed.). Sexuality: Perspectives, Issues and Role in Society. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Plunkett, S., W., & Laganà, L. (2012). Sexuality and developmental disabilities: State of the art, need for future research, and policy implications. In S. Mottola (Ed.). Sexuality: Perspectives, Issues and Role in Society. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Covington, K., Laganà, L., & White, T. R. (2012). Economic coping and head of households’ perception of family health. In S. Mottola (Ed.). Psychology of Coping: New Research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Laganà, L., Tramutolo, C., Boncori, L., & Cruciani, A. C. (2012). Community-dwelling adults versus older adults: Psychopathology and the continuum hypothesis. Educational Gerontology, 38(6), 412-428, doi: 10.1080/03601277.2011.559853.

Laganà, L., Bratly, M.L., & Boutakidis, I. (2011). Validation of a new measure quantifying the social quality of life of ethnically diverse older women: two cross-sectional studies. BMC Geriatrics, 11, 60, doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-11-60.

Laganà, L., & Hassija, C.M. (2012). Bodily pain and coping strategies among four geriatric age groups of multiethnic women. Journal of Health Psychology, 17(4), 545-555. doi: 10.1177/1359105311421045.

Laganà, L., Spellman, T., Wakefield, J., & Oliver, T. (2011). Ethnic minority status, depression, and cognitive failures in relation to marital adjustment in ethnically diverse older women. Clinical Gerontologist, 34, 1-17, doi:10.1080/07317115.2011.554627.

Laganà, L., Oliver, T., Ainsworth, A., & Edwards, M. (2011). Enhancing computer self-efficacy and attitudes in multiethnic older adults: A randomized controlled study. Ageing & Society, 31(6), 911-933, doi:10.1017/S0144686X10001340.

Caldwell Sacerdoti, R., Laganà, L., & Koopman, C. (2010). Altered sexuality and body image after gynecological cancer treatment: How can psychologists help? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(6), 533-540, doi: 10.1037/a0021428.

Laganà, L., & Maciel, M. (2010). Sexual desire among Mexican-American older women: A qualitative study. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 12(6), 705-719, doi: 10.1080/13691058.2010.482673.

Laganà, L., & Zarankin, K. (2010). A cross-sectional study on health and physical functioning in relation to coping strategies among community-dwelling, ethnically diverse older women. BioMed Central (BMC) Women's Health, 10(10), doi:10.1186/1472-6874-10-10,

Laganà, L., & Reger, S. L. (2009). A pilot study on perceived stress and PTSD symptomatology in relation to four dimensions of older women’s physical health. Aging and Mental Health, 13(6), 885-893, doi: 10.1080/13607860903004023.

Laganà, L., & Schuitevoerder, S. (2009). Pilot testing a new short screen for the assessment of older women’s PTSD symptomatology. Educational Gerontology, 35(8), 732-751, doi: 10.1080/03601270802708442.

Laganà, L. (2008). Enhancing the attitudes and self-efficacy of older adults towards computers and the Internet: Results of a pilot study. Educational Gerontology, 34, 831-843. doi: 10.1080/03601270802243713,

Laganà, L., Kim, B., & Sosa, G. (2008). Relating two distinct dimensions of spirituality to older women's physical and mental health. Perspectives (formerly "The American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences Web Journal"), Fall 2008.

Laganà, L. (2007). Empowering older women through Service Learning research. CSU Service Learning Gender Monograph. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing.

Laganà, L. (2006). Using the research process to enhance civic engagement. In J.L. Perry and S.G. Jones (Eds.), Quick Hits for Educating Citizens. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Laganà, L., Classen, C., Caldwell, R., McGarvey, E., Baum, L., Cheasty, E., & Koopman, C. (2005). Sexual difficulties of patients with gynecological cancer. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 391-399.

Laganà, L., & Sosa, G. (2004). Depression among ethnically diverse older women: The role of demographic and cognitive factors. Educational Gerontology, 30(10), 801-820.

Caldwell, R., Classen, C., Laganà, L., McGarvey, E., Baum, L., Duenke, S.D., & Koopman, C. (2003). Changes in sexual functioning and mood among women treated for gynecological cancer who receive group therapy: A pilot Study. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 10(3), 149-156.

Laganà, L. (2003). Using Service-Learning research to enhance the elderly's quality of life. Educational Gerontology, 29(8), 685-701.

Laganà, L., Chen, X., Koopman, C., Classen, C., Kimerling, R., & Spiegel, D. (2002). Depressive symptomatology in relation to emotional control and chronic pain in persons who are HIV-positive. Rehabilitation Psychology, 47(4), 402-414.

Laganà, L., & Shanks, S. (2002).  Mutual biases underlying the problematic relationship between older adults and mental health providers: Any solution in sight? International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 55(3), 271-295.

Laganà, L., & Rubin, M. (2002). Methodological challenges and potential solutions for the incorporation of sound community-based research into Service-Learning. In A. Furco & S.H. Billig (Eds.), Advances in Service-Learning Research - Volume I: Service Learning: The essence of the pedagogy. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Laganà, L., McGarvey, E.L., Classen, C., & Koopman, C. (2001). Psychosexual dysfunction among gynecological cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 8(2), 73-84.

Peters, L., Simon, E., Folen, R. A., Umphress, V, & Laganà, L. (2000). The COPE program: Treatment efficacy and medical utilization outcome of a chronic pain management program at a major military hospital. Military Medicine, 165(12), 954-960.

Hart, S., Gore-Felton, C., Maldonado, J., Laganà, L., Blake-Mortimer, J., Israelski, D., Koopman, C., & Spiegel, D. (2000).  The relationship between pain and coping styles among HIV-positive men and women. Psychology and Health, 15(6), 869-879.

Laganà, L. (1999).  Psychosocial correlates of contraceptive practices during late adolescence. Adolescence, 34(135), 463-482.

Laganà, L. (1995).  Older adults' expectations about psychological counseling:  A multivariate and discriminant analysis.  International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 41(1), 297-316.

Laganà, L., & Hayes, D. H. (1993).  Contraceptive health programs for adolescents: A critical review. Adolescence, 28(110), 347-359.

Cassisi, J. E., Sypert, G. W., Laganà, L., Friedman, E. M., & Robinson, M. E. (1993). Pain, disability, and psychological functioning in chronic low back pain subgroups: Myofascial versus herniated disc syndrome. Neurosurgery, 33(3), 379-386. 

Research Interests and Research Opportunities for Students

My current research interests are: women's issues, adult behavioral medicine/health psychology, ethnogeriatrics, as well as sex and marital therapy. Research projects currently in progress in my lab - the "CSUN Behavioral Medicine Laboratory" (funded by NIH since 2002) - include studies on the medical, psychosocial, and sexual needs of high-functioning older women from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and on enhancing the quality of life of multiethnic older adults by training them in Internet use for informational and social purposes. In the course of each semester, students can sign up for new and ongoing research projects. I encourage students to get involved in research endeavors as early as possible, in order to identify their scientific and creative talents and to focus on fostering their development. Students who are not enrolled in my classes are also welcome to contact me for consideration of inclusion in my lab's projects, which may lead to co-authorship of articles in peer-reviewed journals. I welcome undergraduate and graduate students who truly feel that they would enjoy scientific writing, as well as concisely reviewing empirical literature, developing and testing innovative hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and proposing research and clinical recommendations based on our research findings. I would like to encourage these motivated students to join my research team and come up with their own potential research projects on topics related to my research interests.