Senior Research Scientist
Research Assistant Professor, Sociology
Health disparities among sexual minorities (i.e., gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals); social inequalities associated with sexual orientation and gender identity; risk taking among vulnerable groups (e.g., sexual minorities, adolescents, heterosexual women); exploring differences in health, discrimination, and self-identity among women (e.g., bisexual compared to lesbian women); developing culturally informed interventions to reduce health disparities and associated risk behaviors among sexual minorities; microaggressions based on sexual orientation; same-sex couples and families; utilizing mixed methods in research.
This research examines gender and sexual identity differences in alcohol use and victimization among gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women.
This Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award
provided support for advanced statistical and qualitative analytic
training (including use of Atlas.ti software), as well as the
completion of a mixed-methods study to examine the relationship
between victimization and substance use among sexual minority men
and women. Extensive baseline surveys were conducted to assess
participants’ mental health symptoms, victimization
experiences (i.e., sexual aggression, intimate partner violence,
bias-based discrimination), substance use, and coping strategies.
Event-based qualitative interviews identified characteristics of
recent sexual aggression events. Participants included nearly 400
gay men, lesbians, bisexual men and bisexual women, thus allowing
for the examination of gender and sexual identity differences in
the outcomes of interest from a sexual minority stress perspective.
The study was conducted in collaboration with Kathleen A.
Parks, PhD, R. Lorraine Collins, PhD, of UB’s School of
Public Health and Health Professions, and Michael R.
Funded by a grant of $579,325 from NIAAA, 2006-2012.
Darrow | Hequembourg
| Lisman | Muraven
Researchers will study non-medical prescription drug use among college students and assess what types of drugs are being used, why they are being used and the consequences.
This two year research project focuses on non-medical prescription drug (NMPD) use among college students. It involves a collaborative effort among scientists at three SUNY campuses (Buffalo, Binghamton, and Albany) with expertise in public health, wellness education, sociology, and psychology (clinical, social). The two phase research plan includes initial focus groups with students who report use of NMPDs to inform the development of specific measures to assess student perceptions of the types of NMPDs being used, motives for use, and the positive and negative consequences of use. The second phase involves the use of these measures in a web-based survey distributed to 3000 students across the three SUNY campuses. The research is intended to foster larger federally funded future projects targeted toward developing prevention intervention programs to reduce NMPD use on college campuses. Dr. Parks’ co-investigators on the study include Sherri Darrow, University at Buffalo, Student Health & Wellness, Stephen Lisman, SUNY Binghamton and Mark Muraven, SUNY Albany. Funded by a grant of $99,627 from SUNY/RF Collaborative Fund. 2013-2016.
Parks | Testa | Dearing
Researchers are developing short video clips of potential assault scenarios to help women better understand the nonverbal cues that could indicate the risk of sexual assault.
Prior research suggests that a woman’s ability to perceive or interpret cues about a potential sexual assault can be influenced by alcohol consumption and her history of prior assault. In the past, research designed to assess deficits in women’s ability to perceive risk cues for sexual assault have utilized written and audio vignettes. In this study, Dr. Kathleen A. Parks and colleagues are developing video vignettes, that will include nonverbal (e.g. facial expressions) risk cues that can not be presented in the more traditional written and audio vignettes. The hope is that these video vignettes, by including nonverbal, verbal, and environmental risk cues, will provide a more realistic depiction of a sexual assault scenario. The primary goal of developing more realistic scenarios with these imbedded risk cues is to be able to more accurately assess women’s ability to perceive risks for sexual assault during heterosexual drinking situations. Development and validation of this measure will occur through a rigorous, multi-method process involving five small studies. These include the development of the vignette scripts through focus groups, individual, and expert feedback, and validation of the different levels (ambiguous, low and high risk) of risk cues, through presentation to women during sober and moderate alcohol conditions. Future goals include the development of unique prevention programs using the video vignette measure as a training tool for improving women’s risk perception, thereby reducing sexual assault risk. Funded by a grant of $416,063 from NIAAA, 2011-2014.