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Julia R. Steinberg

Associate Professor, Family Science

Julia Steinberg's research is at the intersection of mental and reproductive health and has largely focused on family planning. One line of research, which has important policy and clinical implications, examines whether abortion causes or increases the risk of mental health problems. Another line of research examines the role of mental health in unintended pregnancy. 


SPH | Room 1142V

(301) 314-1404


Areas of Interest

Core Faculty

Mental and Reproductive Health; Family Planning; Abortion

Julia Steinberg received a PhD in social psychology in 2008 from Arizona State University and completed the Charlotte-Ellertson postdoctoral fellow in reproductive health from 2008 to 2011 in the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Steinberg then was a faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF from 2011 to 2014. In January 2015, she joined the Department of Family Science. Steinberg's research is largely at the interplay of mental health and reproductive events, or experiences, and has focused on family planning.

BA, Psychology with a minor in Mathematics, 2001

University of Toledo,

MA, Social Psychology, 2005

Arizona State University

PhD, Social Psychology, 2008

Arizona State University

FMSC310 Maternal, Child, and Family Health

FMSC610 Research Methods in Family Science

FMSC850 Maternal, Child and Family Health Epidemiology

New member of UMD’s Delta Omega Gamma Zeta Honorary Society in Public Health, 2020

UMD’s School of Public Health George F. Kramer Practitioner of the Year Award for work as a scientific expert in abortion and mental health, 2020

Top 10 most talked about abortion articles in 2019 by altmetrics for “The association between first abortion and first-time nonfatal suicide attempts: A longitudinal study using Danish-population registries” in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry, 2020

Honoree, Maryland Research Excellence Celebration, 2019

Honoree, 11th Annual UMD Celebration of Scholarship & Research, 2018

NIH Early Career Reviewer Program, Center for Scientific Review, 2014

Winner of the Daniel R. Mishell, Jr., MD, Outstanding Article Award from the journal Contraception, 2013

Winner of the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology, 2013

NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) K12 Scholar, University of California, San Francisco, 2011-2013

Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellow in Abortion and Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, 2008-2011

Graduate Completion Fellowship, Arizona State University, 2008

Travel Grant, Graduate and Professional Student Association, Arizona State University, 2008

Preparing Future Faculty, Arizona State University, 2004

University Graduate Scholarship, Arizona State University, 2001–2004

Sullivan Grant for senior honors thesis, University of Toledo, 2001

Outstanding Psychology Senior, University of Toledo, 2001

+ indicates student author; *indicates senior author

+Vafai, Y., Thoma, M. E., *Steinberg, J. R. (2020). Experiencing first depressive episode in the same year as sexual debut is associated with an increased risk for teenage pregnancy. Journal of Adolescent Health, 67 (2), 239-244.

+Drew, L. B., Mittal, M., Thoma, M. E., Harper, C. C., & *Steinberg, J. R. (2020). Intimate partner violence and effectiveness level of contraceptive selection post-abortion. Journal of Women’s Health, 29 (8), 1142-1149.

Steinberg, J. R., +Harrison, E. Y., & Boudreaux, M. (2020). Psychosocial Factors Associated with Postpartum Contraceptive Method Use After an Unintended Birth. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 135 (4), 821-831.

Steinberg, J. R. (2020). Decision rightness and relief predominate over the years following an abortion. Social Science & Medicine, 248, 112782.

Steinberg, J. R., Laursen, T. M., Adler, N. E., Gasse, C., Agerbo, E., & Munk-Olsen T. (2019). The association between first abortion and first-time nonfatal suicide attempts: A longitudinal study using Danish-population registries. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6 (12), 1031-1038.

Steinberg, J. R., Adler, N. E., Thompson, K. M., Westhoff, C., & Harper, C. C. (2018). Current and past depressive symptoms and effectiveness level of contraceptive method selected among women seeking reproductive health services. Social Science & Medicine, 14, 20-25.

Steinberg, J. R., Laursen, T. M., Adler, N. E., Gasse, C., Agerbo, E., & Munk-Olsen T. (2018). Examining the association of antidepressant prescriptions with first abortion and first childbirth. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(8), 1-8.

+Vafai Y. & *Steinberg, J. R. (2018). The effects of pre-abortion depressive symptoms on post-abortion contraceptive effectiveness level chosen. Contraception, 97(4), 335-340.

Gelman, A., Rosenfeld, E. A., Nikolajski, C., Freedman, L. R., Steinberg, J. R., & Borrero, S. (2017). Abortion stigma among low-income women obtaining abortions in western Pennsylvania: A qualitative assessment. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 49 (1), 29-36.

Steinberg, J. R., Tschann, J. M., Furgerson, D., & Harper, C. C. (2016). Psychosocial factors and pre-abortion psychological health: The significance of stigma. Social Science & Medicine, 150, 67-75.