My program of research examines how sociocultural processes, such as stigma, stereotyping, and discrimination, influence health disparities. In my first line of work, I examine how experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and IPV-related stigmatization are associated with sexual risk behavior and mental health (e.g., substance use, PTSD, depression). My work shows that intimate partner related-stigma is associated with psychological distress, non-disclosure of partner violence to potential support networks, and poorer sexual health.
My second line of research examines factors that exacerbate stigmatization toward multiply marginalized group members, particularly Black women. Specifically, I examine how racialized and gendered stereotypes of Black women contribute to various forms of dehumanization (e.g., objectification), which in turn shape justification and acceptance of violence toward Black women. This line of work highlights how stigmatization may vary based on categories such as race and gender.
Both of these research foci consider how intersections between gender, race, and power shape mental and sexual health outcomes. I use a multiple methods approach to address these research questions, including experimental studies, surveys, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. Collectively, my research has implications for designing and implementing interventions that are tailored and sensitive to the social context of marginalized groups, and has the potential to reduce and ultimately help eliminate mental and sexual health disparities.