Zunaira Jilani

Zunaira Jilani

Social/Health Psychology Graduate Student
Graduate Teaching Assistant


Zunaira Jilani

  • Fifth year doctoral student
  • Major: Social & Health Psychology
  • Minor: Statistics

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Zunaira Jilani's, M.S., research interests include both sexual assault perpetration and victimization: 1) predictive factors of sexual assault perpetration such as hostile masculinity and impersonal sex; and 2) social psychological mechanisms linking sexual assault victimization and health outcomes, such as attributes of blame, fear of stigma and barriers to disclosure or seeking help.In a new research direction, she is beginning to examine the complex role of ethnicity and culture in sexual assault victimization, including investigating cultural blame attributions. Currently, she is interested in studying how conflicting cultural values may influence decision-making in the context of dating, sexual activity, and disclosure of sexual assault victimization. Her ultimate goal is to uncover the impact of sexual violence in understudied marginalized populations so that dominant cultural institutions can address these disparities, thus benefiting survivors by promoting healing and health. 


Current Projects: 

Sexual Experiences Survey Phrasing

  • Collected quantiative and qualitiate data to test how phrasing affected reports of sexual assault perpetration and interpretration of SES items
  • Used responses to improve phrasing of items and investiagting the use of consent langauge in items 
  • PI: Dr. Antonia Abbey

CBTT, Suicidality, Disclosure, & Coping in Black, South Asian, and White Young Adults

  • Using the Cultural Betrayal Trauma Theory as a framework for researching the impact of violence in the context of inequality in youth and young adults in order to identify avenues of hope & healing for individuals, families, communities, and society.
  • Working on a CBMI adaptation for Desi/South Asian young adults for thiis study
  • PI: Dr. Jennifer Gómez 

Attributions of Blame in Sexual Assault

  • Examined the Role of Ethnicity in Predicting Victim and Perpetrator Blame among South Asian, Arab, and European American Women
  • Tested black sheep theory and defensive attribution hypothesis
  • PI: Zunaira Jilani


  • B.A. Honors Psychology and International Studies of Global Health, minor in South Asian studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015
  • M.S. Clinical Pyschology - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2016
  • M.A. Social Psychology - Wayne State University, Detroit, 2019

Awards and grants

  • 2018 Social-Personality Poster Award
    2018 Rumble Fellowship
    2019 Poster Award for Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Symposium
    2020 Betty J. Neitzel Summer Research Award
    2020-21 Competitive Graduate Research Assistant Award

Selected publications

 Jilani, Z., Chang, E. C., Lee, J., & Batterbee, C. (2018). Psychological models of health in South Asian Americans. In M. Perera & E. C. Chang (Eds.), Biopsychosocial approaches to understanding health in South Asian Americans. New York: Springer.

Pegram, S. E., Abbey, A., Helmers, B. R., Benbouriche, M., Jilani, Z., & Woerner, J. (2018). Men who sexually assault drinking women: Similarities and differences with men who sexually assault sober women and nonperpetrators. Violence Against Women, 24, 1327-1348. doi:10.1177/1077801218787927

Woerner, J., Abbey, A., Helmers, B.R., Pegram, S.E., & Jilani, Z. (2018). Predicting men's immediate reactions to a simulated date's sexual rejection: The effects of hostile masculinity, impersonal sex, and hostile perceptions of the woman. Psychology of Violence, 8(3), 349-357.

Chang, E. C., Jilani, Z., Yu, T., Lin, J., Muyan, M., & Hirsch, J. K. (2017). Relation between sexual assault and negative affective conditions in female college students: Does loss of hope account for the association? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(8), 1249-1266. doi: 10.1177/0886260515588534

Courses taught

PSY 1010 Intro Psych

PSY 3993 Experimental Psych