• Executive Director, LEAP Learning Communities, Undergraduate Studies
  • Professor, Family And Consumer Studies

Research Summary

Marissa Diener is a developmental psychologist whose research addresses complex and challenging social issues that face youth and impact their well-being. My research assumes that children's characteristics, such as neurodiversity, as well as parents' behavior and expectations, parent-child relationships, and the person-family-in-context are important for children's development. My research involves two approaches: traditional methods as well as community-based participatory designs.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, DPSYCH, University Of Illinois Urbana
  • Master of Arts, MAPSYC, University Of Michigan Ann Arb
  • Bachelor of Arts, BAPSYC, Georgetown University


My love of psychology came from dinner-time conversations and the fun of trying to understand people's behavior in the real world with her parents, Ed and Carol Diener, both psychologists.  I am thankful to have grown up with an identical twin sister, Mary Beth, and a brother Robert, both also psychologists, as well as two sisters who chose other careers.  I am a professor in the Department of Family & Consumer Studies, and direct the LEAP program.I appreciate the interdisicplinary nature of both of these programs.  My research interests focus on youth optimatl development and parent-child relationships, as well as the contexts within which these relationships occur, espeically health contexts. I enjoy hiking and reading and the beautiful scenery that Utah offers.  I also enjoy spending time with my husband, two children, and extended family.