Picture of Karen Lawson

Karen Lawson BA (Hon), MA, PhD, CE


Faculty Member in Psychology and Health Studies
Department Head of Psychology and Health Studies

Arts 154

Research Area(s)

  • Reproductive Decision-Making
  • Sexual Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviours
  • Psychosocial Implications of Reproductive Technologies
  • Prejudice and Discrimination towards Persons with Disabilities
  • Program Evaluation (focus on health programs)


Current Research Grants

KL Lawson (PI) & P Downe (2018 - 2021). Later baby! Psycho-social factors underlying the formation of intentions to delay motherhood. Insight Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

C Buchanan (PI), KL Lawson, D McCreary (2019 - 2021). Evaluating Prosocial Bystander Intervention Training with Undergraduate Students in Preventing Sexual Assaults. Insight Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

A Crizzle (PI), KL Lawson, J McDavid (2019 - 2021). Evaluation of a Community Led Transportation Service in Rural Saskatchewan. Insight Development Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Sample Publications

S Sangster & KL Lawson. (accepted). "We're in the same book, but we're in different parts of the book." Dominant and sub-group narratives of life following a  Down syndrome determination. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. 

S Fletcher-Hildebrand, KL Lawson, P Downe & M Bayly. (2021). The role of motherhood schemas and life transitions in reproductive intention formation. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2021.1892044

S Fletcher-Hildebrand, H Alimezelli, T Carr, KL Lawson, A Ali, & G Groot. (2021). Understanding the impact of a residential housing programme for people living with HIV/AIDS: a realist evaluation protocol. BMJ Open, 11(4), Article e044522. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044522

H Silber, E Tvinnereim, TH Stark,  AG Blom, JA Krosnick, M Bosnjak, S Clement, ACornilleau, A Cousteaux, M John, G Jonsdottir, K Lawson, P Lynn, J Martinsson, D Shamshiri-Petersen, S Tu. (2021) , Lack of Replication or Generalization? Cultural Values Explain a Question Wording Effect, Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology.  smab007, https://doi.org/10.1093/jssam/smab007

L Williamson & KL Lawson. (2020). Canadian support for IVF access and use. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 43(2), 175-181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogc.2020.09.020

L Williamson, M Bayly, E Poncelet, & KL Lawson. (2020). “It’s just one step in the right direction”: A qualitative exploration of undergraduate student perceptions of #MeToo. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 29(1), 11-24. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2019-0036

KL Lawson, T Hunter, J McDavid (2020). Predicting Credentialed Evaluator status: Characteristics, comparisons, and implications for the CE Program. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 35, 53-73. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjpe.61841

T Stark, H Silber, J Krosick, A Blom, M Aoyagi, A Belchior, M Bosnjak, S Clement, M John, GA Jo'nsdo'ttir, K Lawson, P Lynn, Johan Martinsson, D Shamshiri-Peterson, E Tvinnereim & R Yu. (2018).  Generalization of classic question order effects across cultures. Sociological Methods and Research (published on-line February 28, 2018). doi:10.1177/0049124117747304

 KN Duerksen*, KL Lawson. (2018). “Removed from humanity”. A qualitative analysis of attitudes toward abortion in anti-abortion individuals in Canada. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology (published on-line February 27, 2018). doi:10.1080/02646838.2018.1442919

KN Duerksen*, KL Lawson. (2017). “Not brain-washed, but heart-washed”. A qualitative analysis of benevolent sexism in the anti-choice stance. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine (published on-line January 25, 2017). doi:10.1007/s12529-017-9633-8

Sangster SL*, Loy K, Mills S & Lawson KL. (2016). Engaging first-year university students in research: Promise, potentials, and pitfalls. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7(1). Article 3

Gibson K*, Heimlick M*, Robertson D*, Sangster SL*, Williamson LEA* & Lawson KL. (2016). Developing competencies for Canadian evaluation: Making a case for how students can benefit from participating in the CES student competition. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 31, 82-90

Couture JL*, Sangster SL*, Williamson LEA* & Lawson KL. (2016). Endorsement of abortion: The differential impact of social perspective on women and men. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 32, 486-496

Sangster SL* & Lawson KL. (2015). Is any press good press? The impact of media portrayals of infertility on young adults' perceptions of infertility. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 

Williamson LEA* & Lawson KL. (2015). Young women's intentions to delay childbearing: A test of the theory of planned behaviour. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 33, 205-213

Sangster SL* & Lawson KL. (2014). 'Falling down the rabbit hole': The construction of infertility in the news media. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 32, 486-496

Williamson LEA*, Lawson KL, Downe PJ, & Pierson RA. (2014). Informed reproductive decision-making: The impact of providing fertility information on fertility knowledge and intentions to delay childbearing. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 36, 400-405.

Lawson KL, Bayly M*, & Cey, E*. (2013). Judgements regarding the acceptability of childbearing and parental fitness made toward women living with HIV. AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV, 25, 676-679.

Lawson KL, Carlson K*, & Shynkaruk JM*. (2012). The portrayal of Down syndrome in prenatal screening pamphlets. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 34, 760-768.

Lawson KL & Walls-Ingram S*. (2010). Selective abortion for Down syndrome: The relation between the quality of intergroup contact, parenting expectations, and reproductive preferences. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 554-459.

Clarke AK* & Lawson KL. (2009). Putting the survivor on trial: Perceptions of sexual assault. Violence and Victims, 24, 248-264.

Yaremko SK* & Lawson KL (2007). Gender, internalization of expressive traits, and expectations of parenting. Sex Roles, 57, 675-687. 

Lawson KL & Pierson RA. (2007). Maternal decisions regarding prenatal diagnosis: Rational choices or sensible decisions? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 29, 240-246.

Teaching & Supervision

Regularly taught courses:

  • Psy 235    Research Methods
  • Psy 325    Research in Social Psychology
  • Psy 811    Program Evaluation

I currently supervise the following graduate students within the Reproductive Psychology Research Lab

  • Kirstian Gibson (PHD - Applied Social Psychology)
  • Andrew Hartman (PHD - Applied Social Psychology)
  • Selena Doyle (MA - Applied Social Psychology)
  • John Malyk (MA - Applied Social Psychology)
  • Adriana Cashwell (MA - Applied Social Psychology)


health program evaluation reproduction sexuality stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination

Education & Training

Ph.D., University of Guelph, 1999, Dept. of Psychology, Applied Social Psychology


M.A., University of Saskatchewan, 1992, Dept. of Psychology, Applied Social Psychology


B.A. (High Honours), University of Saskatchewan, 1988, Dept. of Psychology

Awards & Honours

  • Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching, awarded by University of Saskatchewan September 2012
  • Professional Designation as Credentialed Evaluator, awarded by Canadian Evaluation Society July 2011
  • Teaching Excellence Award - Social Science, awarded by College of Arts and Science May 2010