Lynae Darbes, PhD

Associate Professor
Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities
Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences
Room 3341 NURS1

University of Michigan School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Telephone: (734) 763-7265
Lynae Darbes is accepting new PhD students.


  • Health Psychology
  • Relationship dynamics
  • International HIV prevention
  • Mental health
  • Women’s health

Dr. Darbes’ research is anchored in the fields of heath psychology and behavioral medicine.  Specifically, her research examines how primary partners can influence health behaviors, which impacts one’s morbidity and mortality. For example, relationship factors such as intimacy and desired fertility are often factors that can strongly influence sexual behavior. She has conducted longitudinal investigations of relationship dynamics on sexual risk behavior and HIV testing, utilizing qualitative and quantitative methodologies, among heterosexual and gay male couples both domestically and internationally. Her work utilizes theoretically grounded approaches, incorporating social psychology, as well as classic concepts of health behavior change. Dr. Darbes’ research perspective is that our partners are not merely supporting us in an emotional sense, rather they are exerting powerful influences that can significantly impact on our health and well-being. Her goals include understanding how to leverage the power of relationships to intervene to improve mental and physical health outcomes. 

Current Research Grants and Programs

  • A randomized trial to prevent HIV among gay couples. NIH/NIMH R01 MH 110289, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Home visits for couples to promote male engagement in PMTCT and MCH in Kenya. NIH/NIMH R34 102103, Co-Investigator
  • Understanding prevention needs of male couples in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Namibia, DFID (Department for International Funding)/UK, Co-Investigator
  • HIV prevention for male couples in Africa, MAC AIDS Fund, Co-Investigator
  • Relationship factors and engagement in care in Malawi: A dyadic investigation NIH/NIMH K01 107331 (PI: Amy Conroy), Primary Research Mentor


Education is about expanding students’ world-view and inspiring them to want to learn more.  Dr. Darbes’ intellectual mission as a psychologist/educator is to provide students an entrée into human behavior and its impact on physical health and well-being. For nursing and medical students and other health professionals, the goal is to highlight the crucial role that mental health and health behaviors play in the prevention and treatment of illness and promoting positive health.  For psychology students, the goal has been to provide a foundation in psychological theories and the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.

Dr. Darbes’  teaching ranges from classroom instruction with undergraduate and graduate psychology students, formal  instruction of medical students and nursing students, to mentoring of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty in both research and clinical settings. What is consistent in these experiences is striving to support students in achieving their goals in the classroom and in practical experiences. 

Affiliations / Service

  • Member, American Psychological Association
  • Member, Society for Behavioral Medicine
  • Member, International AIDS Society
  • Member, International Association for Relationship Research


  • PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 2000
  • MA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 1996
  • AB, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1988

Publication Highlights

  • Hoff, C.C., Campbell, C. & Darbes, L.A. (in press). Relationship-based predictors of sexual risk for HIV among MSM couples: A systematic review of the literature. AIDS Behavior.

  • Conroy, A.A., McGrath, N., van Rooyen, H., Hosegood, V., Johnson, M.O., Fritz, K., Marr, A., Ngubane, T., & Darbes, L.A. (2016). Power and the association with relationship quality in South African couples: Implications for HIV/AIDS interventions. Social Science and Medicine, 153: 1-11.

  • Crankshaw, T.L., Voce, A., Butler, L.M., & Darbes, L. (2016). Expanding the relationship context for couple-based HIV prevention: Elucidating women’s perspectives on non-traditional sexual partnerships. Soc Sci Med, 166: 169-176.

  • Leddy, A., Chakravarty, D., Dladla, S., de Bruyn, G., & Darbes, L.A. (2016). Sexual communication self-efficacy, hegemonic masculine norms and condom use among heterosexual couples in South Africa. AIDS Care, 28 (2), 228-33.

  • Gamarel, K.E., Reisner, S.L., Darbes, L.A., Hoff, C.C., Chakravarty, D., Nemoto, T., & Operario, D. (2016). Dyadic dynamics of HIV risk among transgender women and their primary male sexual partners: the role of sexual agreement types and motivations. AIDS Care, 28 (1), 104-111.

  • Stephenson, R., White, D., Darbes, L.A., Hoff, C.C., & Sullivan, P. (2015). HIV testing behaviors and perceptions of risk of HIV infection among MSM with main partners. AIDS Behavior, 19 (3), 553-60.

  • Comfort, M., Reznick, O.G., Dilworth, S.E., Binson, D., Darbes, L.A., & Neilands, T.B. (2014). Sexual HIV risk among male parolees and their female partners: The Relate Project. J Health Dispar Res Pract, 7 (6), 26-53.

  • Darbes, L.A., van Rooyen, H., Hosegood, V., Ngubane, T., Johnson, M.O., Fritz, K., McGrath, N. (2014). Uthando Lwethu (‘our love’): a protocol for a couples-based intervention to increase testing for HIV: a randomized controlled trial in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Trials, 15:64.

  • Darbes, L.A., Chakravarty, D., Neilands, T.B., Beougher, S.C., & Hoff, C.C. (2014). Sexual risk for HIV among gay male couples: A longitudinal study of the impact of relationship dynamics. Archives Sexual Behavior, 43 (1), 47-60.

  • Chakravarty, D., Hoff, C.C., Neilands, T.B., & Darbes, L.A. (2012). Rates of testing for HIV in the presence of serodiscordant UAI among HIV-negative gay men in committed relationships. AIDS Behavior, 16 (7), 1944-1948.

  • Darbes, L.A., Chakravarty, D., Beougher, S.C., Neilands, T.B. & Hoff, C.C. (2012). Partner-provided social support influences choice of risk reduction strategies in gay male couples. AIDS Behavior, 16 (1), 159-167.

  • Darbes, L.A., Chakravarty, D., Beougher, S.C., Neilands, T.B. & Hoff, C.C. (2012). Partner-provided social support influences choice of risk reduction strategies in gay male couples. AIDS Behavior, 16 (1), 159-167.

  • Darbes, L.A., Crepaz, N., Lyles, C., Kennedy, G., & Rutherford, G. (2008). The efficacy of behavioral interventions in reducing HIV risk behaviors and incident sexually transmitted diseases in heterosexual African Americans. AIDS, 22 (1), 1177-94.

  • Darbes, L.A. & Lewis, M.A. (2005). HIV-specific social support predicts less sexual risk behavior in gay male couples. Health Psychology, 24 (6), 617-22.

  • Chesney, M.A., Darbes, L.A., Hoerster, K., Taylor, J.M., Chambers, D.B., & Anderson, D.E. (2005). Positive emotions: exploring the other hemisphere in behavioral medicine. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12 (2), 50-8.