Psychology at Providence College > Mary Anne Sedney, Ph.D.

Mary Anne Sedney, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies

Research and Teaching Interests

I am a clinical psychologist by training and a feminist psychologist by inclination. Throughout my career, much of my work has focused  on the lives and experiences of women. This emphasis on women has sensitized me to some of the limitations as well as the strengths of psychological approaches to understanding people. It has also made me aware of how very much social context shapes our experience, understanding, and development.

I enjoy teaching Psychology of Women, Psychology Internship, Abnormal Behavior, Personality, Behavior Disorders of Children, Psychology in Human Services, and Introduction to Psychology within the Psychology Department. In the Women’s Studies Program, I teach Introduction to Women’s Studies and Representations of Motherhood as the Capstone in Women’s Studies.

Since graduate school, I have been interested in how people cope with stressful life events. These interests have taken me into studies of psychological androgyny, middle-aged women, and, most recently, bereaved children and families. In particular, I focus on what I call “grief narratives” in children’s popular films. While many people have expressed concern about the numbers of deaths children witness in movies and on television, I am interested particularly in the ways in which the grief process in children is portrayed in these media. It is my belief that these portrayals of grief are important sources of information for children about what grief is, how long it lasts, and how it is expressed.


Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

B.A., Psychology, Pennsylvania State University,  Magna cum laude

Clinical Training

Clinical Fellow in Psychology, Harvard Medical School.  Post-Doctoral training in child and family evaluation and treatment, Judge Baker Guidance Center/Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston

Clinical Fellow in Psychology, Harvard Medical School.  Advanced post-doctoral training in systemic family therapy, Judge Baker Guidance Center/Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston

Psychology Intern, Springfield Hospital, Springfield, Massachusetts. Pre-doctoral internship.


Sedney, M. A. (2002).  Maintaining connections in children’s grief narratives in popular films. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 72, 279-288.

Sedney, M. A. (1999). Children’s grief narratives in popular films. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 39(4), 315-324.

Baker, J. E., & Sedney, M. A. (1996). How bereaved children cope with loss: An overview. In C. A. Corr & D. Corr (Eds.), Handbook of childhood death and bereavement (pp. 109-129). New York: Springer.

Sedney, M. A., Baker, J. E., & Gross, E. (1994). “The Story” of a death: Therapeutic considerations with bereaved families. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 20, 287-296.

Baker, J. E., Sedney, M. A., & Gross, E. (1992). Psychological tasks for bereaved children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 62, 105-116.

Sedney, M. A., Baker, J., & Gross, E. (1991). Using “The Story” in treating bereaved families. The Family Psychologist, 7(3), 19-20.

Sedney, M. A. (1989). Conceptual and methodological sources of controversies about androgyny. In R. K. Unger (Ed.). Representations: Social constructions of gender. Farmingdale, N.Y.: Baywood Press.

Sedney, M. A. (1987). Development of androgyny: Parental influences. Psychology  of Women Quarterly, 11, 311-326. Reprinted in C. Carlson (1990). Perspectives on the family: History, class, and feminism. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Sedney, M. A. (1985). Growing more complex: Conceptions of sex roles across adulthood. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 22, 15-29.

Sedney, M. A. (1984). Rape. Academic American Encyclopedia.

Sedney, M. A. (1984). Sex roles. Academic American Encyclopedia.

Sedney, M. A. (1984). Rumination and adaptation following stressful life events. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 4, 171-183.

Sedney, M. A., & Brooks, B. (1984). Factors associated with a history of childhood sexual experience in a non-clinical female population. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 23, 215-218.

Kaplan, A. G., Fibel, B., Greif, A., McComb, A., Sedney, M. A., & Shapiro, E. (1983). Process of sex-role integration in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 20, 476-485.

Sedney, M. A. (1982). Sex roles, behavior, and the need for synthesis. Contemporary Psychology, 27, 289-290.

Sedney, M. A. (1981). Comments on median split procedures for scoring androgyny measures. Sex Roles, 7, 217-222.

Kaplan, A. G., & Sedney, M. A. (1980). Psychology and sex roles: An androgynous perspective. Boston: Little, Brown.

Wisocki, P. A., & Sedney, M. A. (1978). Toward the development of behavioral clinicians. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 9, 141-148.

Sedney, M. A., & Turner, B. F. (1975). A test of two causal models for development of career-orientation in women. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 6, 281-291.