Laurel Watson

Laurel  Watson
Associate Professor
Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences

Contact Info
Cherry Hall 307


How I Help Students

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Watson is the practicum and internship coordinator for the Division of Counseling and Educational Psychology.   Dr. Watson also serves on several editorial boards. She is an associate editor for Psychology of Women Quarterly and consulting editor for the Journal of Counseling Psychology and Sex Roles.


Laurel B. Watson earned her M.S. in Professional Counseling at Georgia State University. Realizing that she had a passion for research and teaching, she sought to continue her education by enrolling in a Ph.D. program. Dr. Watson earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University in 2012. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Oregon’s Counseling & Testing Center. Upon completion of her degree, she accepted an Assistant Professor position with UMKC’s Counseling & Educational Psychology division. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018 with tenure.

Research Areas

Dr. Watson’s research interests include topics related to gender, race, sexuality, and intersections therein. Broadly, she is interested in experiences of discrimination, and how these experiences affect mental health and well-being among individuals with marginalized identities. In addition, she is interested in factors that may protect against adverse outcomes in the face of adversity, such as collective action, identity salience, and resilience. Her research projects often integrate minority stress, intersectionality, and objectification theories in order to investigate these aforementioned experiences.


Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Specialization in Traumatology, Georgia State University

Advising Interests

Dr. Watson adopts a collaborative and developmental approach to her advising relationships. She enjoys getting to know her advisees in terms of their personal and professional interests, and believes that forming a warm and supportive relationship is vital to this process. Dr. Watson also greatly values mentorship and is committed to assisting advisees in their career development while enrolled in UMKC and beyond. She approaches each advising relationship from a developmental perspective; that is, she meets advisees “where they are” in terms of their current knowledge and experience, in order to provide an experience that will adequately prepare them for their future both in the program and beyond.


Recent & Representative Publications
*Represents student authors

Watson, L. B., *Allen, L., *Flores, M., *Farrell, M., & *Serpe, C. (2019). The  development and psychometric evaluation of the Trans Discrimination Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 66, 14-29. doi: 10.1037/cou0000301

Davids, C. M., Watson, L. B., & Gere, M. (2018, July online first). Objectification, masculinity, and muscularity: A test of objectification theory with heterosexual men. Sex Roles.

Watson, L. B., *Flores, M., *Grotewiel, M., *Brownfield, J., *Aslan, S.,  & *Farrell, M. (2018). How do feminist-identified women cope with  discrimination?: A feminist standpoint and grounded theory study. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 42, 291-312. doi: 10.1177/0361684318777722   

*Craney, R. S., Watson, L. B., *Brownfield, J., & *Flores, M. J. (2018). Bisexual women’s discriminatory experiences and psychological distress: Exploring the roles of coping and LGBTQ Community Connectedness. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 5, 324-337. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000276   

*Flores, M. J., Watson, L. B., *Allen, L., *Serpe, C., *Choo, P., *Ford, M. (2018). Transgender people of color’s experiences of sexual objectification: Locating sexual objectification within a matrix of domination. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65, 308-323. doi: 10.1037/cou0000279

Watson, L. B., *Morgan, S. K., *Craney, R. (2018). Bisexual women’s  discrimination and mental health outcomes: The roles of resilience and collective action. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 5, 182-193. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000272