About Us
Toni Serafini
Toni Serafini
Associate Professor
Department of Sexuality, Marriage, & Family Studies

PhD, University of Guelph

MSc, University of Guelph

BA, St. Jerome's University/University of Waterloo


SH 2221
Image of Dr. Toni Serafini

I am an Associate Professor and former Chair in the Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF). I received my PhD in Family Relations and Human Development and my MSc in Couple and Family Therapy, both at the University of Guelph.  I completed my honours BA (co-op) in Psychology here at St. Jerome’s University/University of Waterloo. I have been teaching since 2002 and have taught courses in adolescent development; communication and counselling skills; human sexuality; introductory psychology; parent, child, and family relationships; practicum; relationship formation, maintenance, and conflict/crisis; and research methods.


My research interests centre around identity formation - how we construct our sense of self and how experiences, relationships, and life transitions impact our identity. I developed and validated an instrument to measure identity functions, which has been translated into several languages and is used internationally. I also study sexuality and relationships in various ways, including online dating, sexual and romantic relationships among nonbinary folks, and BDSM. I am currently investigating the relationship between physical appearance and sense of self–body-identity connections.  


Complementing my teaching and research identities, I am also a Registered Psychotherapist and Couple & Family Therapist with a small private practice and have over 15 years of clinical experience. Much of my current clinical work is with couples and individuals, but I have also worked extensively with adolescents and their families in both private counselling and residential settings.


In my free time, I enjoy reading fiction (vampire and “otherworldly” characters, in particular), travelling, and outdoor activities (hiking, canoeing, SCUBA diving, and snorkelling).


The content that follows may only represent a portion of the Faculty member's work.


Serafini, T.E., Rye, B.J., & Drysdale, M.T.B. (Eds., 2013). Taking sides: Clashing views in adolescence (3rd Edition). Dubuque, IO: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.


De Santis, C. & Serafini, T.E. (2015). Classroom to Community: Reflections on Experiential Learning and Socially Just Citizenship. In T. Penny Light, J. Nicholas, and R. Bondy (Eds.), Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


Rye, BJ, Traversa, M., Serafini, T., & Bramberger, T.R. (forthcoming, 2019) Sexual Liberalism Scale. In Milhausen, R., Sakaluk, J.K. Fisher, T.D., Davis, C.M., & Yarber, W. (Eds) The Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures (4th Ed.). Taylor & Francis.


Sica, L. S., Crocetti, E., Ragozini, G., Aleni Sestito, L., & Serafini, T. (2016). Future-oriented or present-focused? The role of social support and identity styles on the future orientation of late adolescents and emerging adults. Journal of Youth Studies, 19 (2), 183-203.


Rye, B.J., Serafini, T., & Bramberger, T.R. (2015). Erotophobic or Erotophilic: What are young women's attitudes toward BDSM?. Psychology & Sexuality, 6(4), 340-356.


Serafini, T., & Maitland, S. B. (2013). Validating the Functions of Identity Scale: Addressing methodological and conceptual matters. Psychological Reports, 112 (1), 160-183.


Crocetti, E., Sica, L.S., Schwartz, S.J., Serafini, T., & Meeus, W. (2013). Identity styles, processes, statuses, and functions: Making connections among identity dimensions. European Review of Applied Psychology, 63, 1-13.


Others (Conference presentations leading to manuscripts in progress)

Serafini, T.E., & Fleischauer (2017, October). Dating without the binary: How non-binary people approach and navigate romantic and sexual relationships. Oral presentation at the Canadian Sex Research Forum Conference, Fredericton, NB


Serafini, T. E., Rye, BJ, & Puodziunas, S. (2016, October). Digital Connections: Exploring Online Dating Among Canadian Post-Secondary Students. Oral presentation at the Canadian Sex Research Forum Conference, Quebec City, QU.


Serafini, T. E., Rye, BJ, & Rowell, A. (2016, March). Body-Identity Connections: Shaping Identity Through Body Projects. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.



St. Jerome’s University
Aid to Scholarly Publications Fund (2011-2012)
Faculty Research Fund (2009-10; 2010-2011)
Travel Grant (2008-2009)


SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2003-2005)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2002-2003)


SMF 101: Introduction to Relationships and Families

SMF 207:  Parents, Children, and Family Relations
SMF 211: Dynamics of Dating
SMF 301: Communication and Counselling Skills
SMF 304: Human Sexuality in Relationships
SMF 400: Capstone Seminar
SMF 496: Seminar in Gender and Identity in Relationships

SMF 496: Seminar in Family Studies [Topic: Intersecting Identities in Relationships]
SMF 499A/B: Thesis Courses

PSYCH 101: Introductory Psychology


Dating and Relationships


The content that follows may only represent a portion of the Faculty member's work.


College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (2017-present)
American & Ontario Associations for Marriage and Family Therapy  (2000-present)
Canadian Sex Research Forum (2016-present)
Canadian Sex Research Forum Program Review Committee (2017-2018)
Society for Research in Identity Formation (2002-2017)
Society for Research on Adolescence (2006-2017)



St. Jerome's University
Faculty Representative, Board of Governors (2016-present)
Member, He4She Committee (2015-present)
Member, Academic Staff Association Equity Committee (2017-present)
Chair, Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies Department (2012-2020)
Member, Academic Committee (2012-2017)
Undergraduate Officer (SMF) (2012-2017)
Faculty Representative, Student Achievement Recognition Committee (2008-2017)


University of Waterloo
Member, Undergraduate Affairs Group (2012-2017)
Federated University Faculty Representative, Senate Undergraduate Council (2010-2016)
Committee Member, Opportunities & New Directions Conference, Centre for Teaching Excellence (2009-2011)


Community Justice Initiatives (CJI) Board of Directors (2011-2017)