Jennifer Johnson, Ph.D.

Jennifer A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Chair
(804) 828-6826
Founders Hall, Room 202


2004 Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Virginia

1993 M.S. in Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Teaching Areas

Gender, Social Network Analysis, Digital Sociology, Theory

Research Interests

Sexual Health, Social Media, Digital Economy, Pornography, Gender


Jennifer A. Johnson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at VCU. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Virginia in 2004, an M.S. in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1993 and a BS in Sociology from Radford University in 1985.  She joined the VCU faculty in 2005.

Professor Johnson’s research interests focus on areas of gender, sexuality, and networks.  Her present focus lies in analyzing the political economy of the online commercial pornography network by mapping the organizational network of its economic structure to better understand how it markets its product to men. Currently, she is working with a colleague to build a data collection ‘scrapper’ to create a dynamic rendering of the organizational network to better observe the way in which the industry changes its marketing strategies in an effort to extract maximum profit from primarily male consumers.  Her work has appeared in Everyday Pornographies and International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics.  Professor Johnson’s other current work (with Chyng Sun, Ana Bridges and Matt Ezzell) surveys an international sample of college students to better understand the relationship between pornography and their sexual attitudes and behaviors.  Her findings show higher rates of pornography use by both men and women are associated with higher levels of bodily and sexual insecurity, a greater reliance on pornography for sexual satisfaction and a decrease in feelings of intimacy.  Her work is forthcoming in Annals of Sexual Behavior.

Previous work includes using social network analysis to analyze criminal and adversarial networks, the effectiveness of non-profit organizational networks, the impact of social capital on low-income women’s chances of marriage and employment and the way in which social capital promotes educational success.  She has also trained the Richmond City Police Department crime analyst team in the use of social network analysis as an investigative tool.  Her work at the Department of Defense in the area of social network analysis won her the 2006 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, which is the highest-ranking civilian service award given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  She was awarded the 2004 Analyst of the Quarter and 2003 Merit Award by the Joint Warfare Analysis Center for her work on the social network analysis methodology team.  Professor Johnson’s teaching was also recognized by a 2002 Virginia statewide award for ‘Technology in Education” for her online instruction to sociology course.

Select Publications

Wright, P. J., Bridges, A. J., Sun, C., Johnson, J. A., Ezzell, M. B. (Forthcoming). “Condom use, pornography consumption, and perceptions of pornography as sexual information in a sample of adult U.S. males.” Journal of Health Communication.

Johnson, J.A., Ezzell, M. B., Bridges, A. J., Sun. (2019). “Pornography and heterosexual women’s intimate experiences with a partner.” Journal of Women’s Health. Published Online:18 Apr 2019

Johnson. J.A. & A. J. Bridges (2018). Pornography and Adolescent Sexual Behavior: A Synthesis of the Research. Cambridge Handbook of Sexual Development: Childhood and Adolescence.

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