Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Associate Dean of Public Health Innovation
Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Ralph DiClemente was trained as a Health Psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco where he received his PhD in 1984 after completing a ScM at the Harvard School of Public Health. He earned his undergraduate degree at the City University of New York.
Dr. DiClemente’s research has four key foci:
- Developing interventions to reduce the risk of HIV/STD among vulnerable populations
- Developing interventions to enhance vaccine uptake among high-risk adolescents and women, such as HPV and influenza vaccine
- Developing implementation science interventions to enhance the uptake, adoption and sustainability of HIV/STD prevention programs in the community
- Developing diabetes screening and behavior change interventions to identify people with diabetes who are unaware of their disease status as well as reduce the risk of diabetes among vulnerable populations.
He has focused on developing intervention packages that blend community and technology-based approaches that are designed to optimize program effectiveness and enhance programmatic sustainability.
Dr. DiClemente is the author of ten CDC-defined, evidence-based interventions for adolescents and young African-American women and men. He is the author of more than 540 peer-review publications, 150 book chapters, and 21 books. He serves as a member of the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council.
Previously, Dr. DiClemente served as the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He was also Associate Director of the Center for AIDS Research, and was previously Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health.
Dr. DiClemente is Past President of the Georgia chapter of the Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine. He previously served as a member of the CDC Board of Scientific Counselors, and the NIMH Advisory Council.
BA, The City College of the City University of New York (CCNY), New York, NYScM, Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MAPhD, Health Psychology, University of California San Francisco Center for Behavioral Sciences, San Francisco, CAPostdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco, CA
Community InterventionsDiabetesHIV/AIDSImplementation scienceInfluenzaPsychology
Causally Interpretable Meta-analysis: Application in Adolescent HIV Prevention
Correlates of depression among Black girls exposed to violenceWaller, B., Quinn, C. R., Boyd, D., DiClemente, R., & Voisin, D. R.
Journal titleJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Page(s)146-155AbstractDepression rates for youth remanded to juvenile detention is double that of the general population and Black girls are especially vulnerable. A dearth of literature analyzes the factors that are correlated with depression among system-involved Black girls, ages 12–17 years old. We utilized personal agency to examine the relationship between risk factors (i.e., abuse history, and fear of condom negotiation) and protective factors (i.e., condom self-efficacy, and perceived social support) that might correlate with depression among Black girls exposed to violence. Findings indicate that fear of condom negotiation, abuse history and low condom self-efficacy are correlated with depressive symptomology while self-esteem and perceived social support are protective factors that may serve as a buffer against girls’ feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The findings of this study suggest several implications for prevention and intervention efforts to reduce the depression-related risks among justice-involved Black females, including strategies that promote healing within their social support networks.
Development of an Integrated Approach to Virtual Mind-Mapping: Methodology and Applied Experiences to Enhance Qualitative Health ResearchAli, S. H., Merdjanoff, A. A., Parekh, N., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleQualitative Health Research
Page(s)571-580AbstractThere is a growing need to better capture comprehensive, nuanced, and multi-faceted qualitative data while also better engaging with participants in data collection, especially in virtual environments. This study describes the development of a novel 3-step approach to virtual mind-mapping that involves (1) ranked free-listing, (2) respondent-driven mind-mapping, and (3) interviewing to enhance both data collection and analysis of complex health behaviors. The method was employed in 32 virtual interviews as part of a study on eating behaviors among second-generation South Asian Americans. Participants noted the mind-mapping experience to be (1) helpful for visual learners, (2) helpful in elucidating new ideas and to structure thoughts, as well as (3) novel and interesting. They also noted some suggestions that included improving interpretability of visual data and avoiding repetition of certain discussion points. Data collection revealed the adaptability of the method, and the power of mind-maps to guide targeted, comprehensive discussions with participants.
Employment conditions as barriers to the adoption of COVID-19 mitigation measures: how the COVID-19 pandemic may be deepening health disparities among low-income earners and essential workers in the United StatesCapasso, A., Kim, S., Ali, S. H., Jones, A. M., DiClemente, R. J., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titleBMC public health
Issue1AbstractBackground: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted economically-disadvantaged populations in the United States (US). Precarious employment conditions may contribute to these disparities by impeding workers in such conditions from adopting COVID-19 mitigation measures to reduce infection risk. This study investigated the relationship between employment and economic conditions and the adoption of COVID-19 protective behaviors among US workers during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: Employing a social media advertisement campaign, an online, self-administered survey was used to collect data from 2,845 working adults in April 2020. Hierarchical generalized linear models were performed to assess the differences in engagement with recommended protective behaviors based on employment and economic conditions, while controlling for knowledge and perceived threat of COVID-19, as would be predicted by the Health Belief Model (HBM). Results: Essential workers had more precarious employment and economic conditions than non-essential workers: 67% had variable income; 30% did not have paid sick leave; 42% had lost income due to COVID-19, and 15% were food insecure. The adoption of protective behaviors was high in the sample: 77% of participants avoided leaving home, and 93% increased hand hygiene. Consistent with the HBM, COVID-19 knowledge scores and perceived threat were positively associated with engaging in all protective behaviors. However, after controlling for these, essential workers were 60% and 70% less likely than non-essential workers, who by the nature of their jobs cannot stay at home, to stay at home and increase hand hygiene, respectively. Similarly, participants who could not afford to quarantine were 50% less likely to avoid leaving home (AOR: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.4, 0.6) than those who could, whereas there were no significant differences concerning hand hygiene. Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with the accumulating evidence that the employment conditions of essential workers and other low-income earners are precarious, that they have experienced disproportionately higher rates of income loss during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and face significant barriers to adopting protective measures. Our findings underscore the importance and need of policy responses focusing on expanding social protection and benefits to prevent the further deepening of existing health disparities in the US.
Feasibility, acceptability, and short-term impact of a brief sexually transmitted infection intervention targeting U.S. Military personnel and family membersKunz, A., Moodley, A., Colby, D. J., Soltis, M., Robb-McGrath, W., Fairchok, A., Faestel, P., Jungels, A., Bender, A. A., Kamau, E., Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., & Scott, P.
Journal titleBMC public health
Issue1AbstractBackground: Over the past 10 years, incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has increased to record numbers in the United States, with the most significant increases observed among adolescents and young adults. The US military, where the majority of active duty personnel are 18–30 years old, has seen similar increases. However, the US military does not yet have a standardized, service-wide program for STI education and prevention. Methods: The KISS intervention (Knocking out Infections through Safer-sex and Screening) was adapted from an evidence-based intervention endorsed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and consisted of a one-time, small group session. Content included STI/HIV knowledge and prevention, condom use skills, and interpersonal communication techniques. The intervention was pilot tested for feasibility and acceptability among a population of service members and medical beneficiaries at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Results: A total of 79 participants aged 18–30 years were consented to participate in the pilot study and met entry criteria, 66/79 (82.5%) attended the intervention session, and 46/66 (69.7%) returned at 3 months for the final follow-up assessment. The intervention sessions included 31 male (47.0%) and 35 female (53.0%) participants. Almost all participants felt comfortable discussing sexual issues in the group sessions, reported that they intended to practice safer sex after the intervention, and would also recommend the intervention to friends. Knowledge about STI/HIV prevention significantly increased after the intervention, and intervention effects were maintained at 3 months. About one-fifth of participants tested positive for N. gonorrhea or C. trachomatis infection at enrollment, while none had recurrent STIs at the final visit. Use of both male and female condoms increased after the intervention. Conclusions: The KISS intervention was feasible to implement in the military setting and was acceptable to the active duty service members and other medical beneficiaries who participated in the pilot project. Further studies are needed to determine if the KISS intervention, or others, effectively decrease STI incidence in active duty personnel and would be appropriate for more widespread implementation. Trial Registration: Retrospectively registered as the pilot phase of clinicaltrials.gov NCT04547413, “Prospective Cohort Trial to Assess Acceptability and Efficacy of an Adapted STI/HIV Intervention Behavioral Intervention Program in a Population of US Army Personnel and Their Medical Beneficiaries—Execution Phase”.
Mapping drivers of second-generation South Asian American eating behaviors using a novel integration of qualitative and social network analysis methodsAli, S. H., Gupta, S., Tariq, M., Penikalapati, R., Vasquez-Lopez, X., Auer, S., Hanif, C., Parekh, N., Merdjanoff, A. A., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleEcology of Food and NutritionAbstractThis study explores a novel, mixed qualitative method to deconstruct the diet of second-generation South Asian Americans (SAAs). Online interviews of 32 second-generation SAAs were conducted usingintegrated free-listing and mind-mapping. Ranked free-lists were aggregated to identify salient drivers, while connections made within mind-maps were analyzed using social network analysis (SNA) methods. Overall, 34 distinct drivers and 247 unique connections were identified. Taste, family, and health had the highest adjusted rankings, while health displayed the strongest network centrality. Interventions aimed at second-generation SAA dietary behaviors may benefit from family-based or multi-level interventions, which consider the complex, unique dietary norms identified.
Perceptions of Sexual Risk and HIV/STI Prevention Among Black Adolescent Girls in a Detention Center: an Investigation of the Role of Parents and PeersQuinn, C. R., Boyd, D. T., Beaujolais, B., Hughley, A., Mitchell, M., Allen, J. L., DiClemente, R. J., & Voisin, D.
Journal titleJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health DisparitiesAbstractBlack American adolescent girls constitute approximately one third of the US youth legal system population. Their overrepresentation in the youth punishment system is an indicator of significant physical, sexual, and/or behavioral health needs. Since less is known about perceptions of HIV/STI risk among Black girls with juvenile justice histories, we used intersectionality theory to explore the following: (1) how a sample of Black girls in detention endorse their perceptions of sexual safety given the multiple intersections of their race, gender, and SES and (2) how their endorsements align with interlocking systems of social inequality for system-involved Black at the social structural level. We examined relational and behavioral factors associated perceived HIV/STI risk. Among a sample of 188 Black girls (ages 13–17 years), we examined parent and partner sexual communication, fear of condom negotiation, a positive STI test, and partner risk profile as significant correlates. Major findings indicated that greater partner communication was associated with higher perceived HIV/STI risk, whereas having had a risky sexual partner, fear of condom negotiation, and having had a positive STI test were correlated with lower perceived risk. The significant factors identified in this study can be the focus of STI prevention and intervention programs for Black girls with youth punishment histories.
Re-membering HIV in the Black Church: women’s religious and social identity in relation to perceived risk and men on the down lowFuller, T. J., Phillips, N. R., Lambert, D. N., DiClemente, R. J., & Wingood, G. M.
Journal titleCulture, Health and Sexuality
Page(s)437-450AbstractThis analysis of 84 interviews with female Black Church leaders and members from Atlanta, GA, examined how women in Black churches construct definitions of, and identities in relation to, HIV narratives about men on the down low. We analyse these narratives as collective memories, through the theoretical lens of memory and trauma studies, by identifying how women understand themselves as the victims of men on the down low transmitting HIV; describe this as a painful experience; make public claims about this experience; and draw on theological understandings to make these claims. The narratives articulate how Black communal modes of meaning making have been disrupted by the HIV epidemic and assign responsibility for HIV transmission to men on the down low, who are perceived to be engaged in risky sexual behaviour. We discuss these results in relation to HIV education and prevention and suggest health educators can engage Black church leaders by understanding these narratives as forms of countermemory.
The Longitudinal Relationship Between Broken Windows and Sexual Behaviors Among African American Girls in Juvenile Detention: The Moderating Effects of Sexual Sensation Seeking and Parental MonitoringKim, D. H., Quinn, K., Diclemente, R., Marotta, P., & Voisin, D.
Journal titleJournal of the Society for Social Work and ResearchAbstractObjective: Broken windows theory has been applied in public health to understand how neighborhood disadvantage contributes to health risk and disparities. This longitudinal study examined the relationship between a broken windows index (i.e., a proxy for neighborhood disadvantage) and sexual behaviors and whether sexual sensation-seeking behaviors and parental monitoring moderated that relationship. Method: Participants were 188 African American adolescent girls incarcerated in a short-term detention facility in Atlanta, GA. Participants completed audio computer-assisted self-interviews at baseline, 3, and 6 months; interviews assessed neighborhood disadvantage, sexual risk behaviors, sexual sensation seeking, parental monitoring, and demographics. Results: Longitudinal findings indicate that the broken windows index was associated with risky sexual behaviors (e.g., condomless sex and sex while using drugs). Parental monitoring (i.e., knowledge of child activities and friends) moderated the relationship between broken windows and sexual risk behaviors. Conclusion: Future interventions should address underlying mechanisms linking structural disadvantage to sexual behaviors.
A model for cognitively-based compassion training: theoretical underpinnings and proposed mechanismsAsh, M., Harrison, T., Pinto, M., DiClemente, R., & Negi, L. T.
Journal titleSocial Theory and Health
Page(s)43-67AbstractAcross cultures and belief systems, compassion is widely considered to be beneficial for the development of personal and social wellbeing. Research indicates that compassion-training programs have broad health benefits, but how and why compassion-training programs are effective is still relatively unknown. This paper describes the theoretical underpinnings of a specific compassion-training program, CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training), and proposes an integrative model that draws on existing health behavior constructs to identify CBCT’s core components and hypothesizes their directionality and interaction. The model includes two primary categories of skill development: (1) intrapersonal skills leading to greater resiliency, and (2) interpersonal skills leading to greater compassion. It is hypothesized that these two pathways are mutually reinforcing and both contribute to greater wellbeing. This model provides a foundation for theory-driven research on the underlying mechanisms in CBCT training. An understanding of CBCT’s mechanisms is a critical step towards optimizing and personalizing the intervention to meet the needs of specific populations.
A Pilot Study to Adapt a Trauma-Informed, Mindfulness-Based Yoga Intervention for Justice-Involved YouthOwen-Smith, A., Black, H., Emerson, D., Cotner, M., Smith, H., Jackson, D., Ford, J. D., DeBar, L., DiClemente, R., & Hayat, M. J.
Journal titleInternational journal of yoga therapy
Issue1AbstractThe purpose of the present study was to adapt and pilot a trauma-informed, mindfulness-based yoga (TIMBY) intervention focused on enhancing self-regulation among youth in the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice system. In this article we (1) describe the process by which we systematically adapted an evidence-based protocol specifically for this population, (2) describe the nature of and rationale for those adaptations, (3) present some preliminary qualitative findings based on interviews with youth participants, and (4) briefly summarize how the adapted protocol will be evaluated in the subsequent feasibility trial. The iterative drafting and revision process involved modifications to a well-established, protocolized Trauma-Informed Yoga program and was identified by the project advisory board and t h rough formal interviews with intervention staff. Qualitative interviews were conducted with youth participants concerning intervention impact, credibility, and satisfaction. Several needed modifications were identified so that the intervention would be contextually appropriate for justice-involved youth. Thirty youth were enrolled in the pilot study: 77% we re Non - Hispanic Black/African-American, 18% were Non-Hispanic White, and 5% were Hispanic White. The average age was 16.45 years (range 14-20). The youth consistently reported satisfaction with the sessions and positive beliefs about how the sessions were helping them with a range of physical and psychological/ emotional challenges. Adaptations to the protocol in the present study highlight how mindfulness-based interventions for justice-involved youth need to consider what is both developmentally suitable for youth and appropriate in a justice setting. A feasibility study using this revised TIMBY protocol is underway at four Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice facilities to formally identify the barriers and facilitators to implementation for the present study and a future, larger-scale trial.
An Examination of Gender Differences in Bullying among Justice-involved Adolescents
Behavioral counseling associated with STI preventionDiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleJournal of Pediatrics
Changing the landscape of South Asian migrant health research by advancing second-generation immigrant health needsAli, S. H., Diclemente, R. J., & Parekh, N.
Journal titleTranslational Behavioral Medicine
Page(s)1295-1297AbstractSouth Asian immigrants confront a growing non-communicable disease burden, a significant issue in countries such as the USA. While efforts have slowly begun to address South Asian migrant health, second-generation communities remain underserved and understudied despite facing many of the same non-communicable disease concerns. The aim of this commentary is to highlight unique health disparities contributing to the current South Asian migrant health status and identify pathways for further formative research needed to inform subsequent development, implementation, and evaluation of health interventions targeting this community. Extant peer-reviewed literature addressing second-generation South Asian health issues was used to identify key research pathways needed to address existing gaps. Specifically, we call for (a) enhancing targeted surveillance and recruitment in research and (b) collecting data to help characterize behavioral and cultural patterns that may contribute to disease onset and progression. Expanding research on second-generation South Asian migrant health may help to develop tailored and targeted interventions.
Compassion Meditation Training for Hospital Chaplain Residents: A Pilot StudyAsh, M. J., Walker, E. R., DiClemente, R. J., Florian, M. P., Palmer, P. K., Wehrmeyer, K., Negi, L. T., Grant, G. H., Raison, C. L., & Mascaro, J. S.
Journal titleJournal of Health Care Chaplaincy
Page(s)191-206AbstractThis study examines the effectiveness of incorporating compassion meditation training into a clinical pastoral education (CPE) curriculum to enhance compassion satisfaction and reduce burnout among hospital chaplain residents. Specifically, a longitudinal, quasi-experimental design was used to examine the impact of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a group-delivered compassion meditation intervention. Hospital chaplain residents (n = 15) were assigned to participate in a CBCT intervention or a waitlist comparison group. Chaplains assigned to CBCT reported significant decreases in burnout and anxiety compared to the waitlist group; effects were not maintained at 4-month follow-up. Other outcomes, including compassion satisfaction, did not differ significantly but were trending in the expected direction. Findings suggest that compassion meditation training incorporated into CPE promotes chaplain wellbeing, although it may be necessary to extend CBCT throughout residency to sustain effects.
Computer-based alcohol reduction intervention for alcohol-using HIV/HCV co-infected Russian women in clinical care: study protocol for a randomized controlled trialDiClemente, R. J., Brown, J. L., Capasso, A., Revzina, N., Sales, J. M., Boeva, E., Gutova, L. V., Khalezova, N. B., Belyakov, N., & Rassokhin, V.
Issue1AbstractBackground: Russia has a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. In 2018, over one million persons were living with HIV (PLWH); over a third were women. A high proportion of HIV-infected women are co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and many consume alcohol, which adversely affects HIV and HCV treatment and prognosis. Despite the triple epidemics of alcohol use, HIV and HCV, and the need for interventions to reduce alcohol use among HIV/HCV co-infected women, evidence-based alcohol reduction interventions for this vulnerable population are limited. To address this gap, we developed a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a computer-based intervention to reduce alcohol consumption among HIV/HCV co-infected women in clinical care. Methods: In this two-arm parallel randomized controlled trial, we propose to evaluate the efficacy of a culturally adapted alcohol reduction intervention delivered via a computer for HIV/HCV co-infected Russian women. The study population consists of women 21–45 years old with confirmed HIV/HCV co-infection who currently use alcohol. Intervention efficacy is assessed by a novel alcohol biomarker, ethyl glucuronide (EtG), and biomarkers of HIV and HCV disease progression. Women are randomized to trial conditions in a 1:1 allocation ratio, using a computer-generated algorithm to develop the assignment sequence and concealment of allocation techniques to minimize assignment bias. Women are randomized to either (1) the computer-based alcohol reduction intervention or (2) the standard-of-care control condition. We will use an intent-to-treat analysis and logistic and linear generalized estimating equations to evaluate intervention efficacy, relative to the standard of care, in enhancing the proportion of women with a laboratory-confirmed negative EtG at each research study visit over the 9-month follow-up period. Additional analyses will evaluate intervention effects on HIV (viral load and CD4+ levels) and HCV markers of disease progression (FibroScan). Discussion: The proposed trial design and analysis provides an appropriate conceptual and methodological framework to assess the efficacy of the computer-based intervention. We propose to recruit 200 participants. The intervention, if efficacious, may be an efficient and cost-effective alcohol reduction strategy that is scalable and can be readily disseminated and integrated into clinical care in Russia to reduce women’s alcohol consumption and enhance HIV/HCV prognosis. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03362476. Registered on 5 December 2017
Development and Cultural Adaptation of a Computer-Delivered and Multi-Component Alcohol Reduction Intervention for Russian Women Living with HIV and HCVBrown, J. L., Anastasakis, I., Revzina, N., Capasso, A., Boeva, E., Rassokhin, V., Crusey, A., Sales, J. M., Hitch, A., Renfro, T., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleJournal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
Volume20AbstractBackground: There is elevated prevalence of problem drinking among Russian women living with HIV and HCV co-infection. This paper describes the development and cultural adaptation of a multi-component alcohol reduction intervention incorporating a brief, computer-delivered module for Russian women living with HIV and HCV co-infection. Methods: The format and content of the intervention were adapted to be linguistic-, cultural-, and gender-appropriate using the ADAPT-ITT framework. A computer-delivered module and brief clinician-delivered individual and telephone sessions were developed. Results: We describe the theoretical foundations of the intervention, the cultural adaptation of the intervention, and overview the content of the intervention’s multiple components. Discussion: Interventions to reduce alcohol use that can be integrated within Russian HIV treatment centers are urgently needed. If efficacious, the culturally-adapted intervention offers the promise of a cost-effective, easily disseminated intervention approach for Russian women living with HIV/HCV co-infection engaging in problematic alcohol use.
Examining Changes in Sleep Duration Associated with the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Who is Sleeping and Who is Not?Batool-Anwar, S., Robbins, R., Ali, S. H., Capasso, A., Foreman, J., Jones, A. M., Tozan, Y., DiClemente, R. J., & Quan, S. F.
Journal titleBehavioral MedicineAbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in social isolation and reports of insomnia. However, reports of changes in sleep duration and associated factors are few. To determine the impact of COVID-19 on changes in sleep behavior, data were analyzed from an online survey of adults recruited via social media that included questions asking whether the respondent slept less or more after the onset of the pandemic as well as self-reported sociodemographic and occupational information; beliefs about COVID-19; and responses pertaining to loneliness, anxiety, and depression. There were 5,175 respondents; 53.9% had a change in sleep duration.17.1% slept less and 36.7% slept more. Sleeping more was related to greater education, being single/divorced/separated, unemployed or a student. Being retired, divorced/separated or a homemaker, and living in the Mountain or Central time zones were associated with less sleep. Beliefs that COVID-19 would result in personal adverse consequences was associated with both more and less sleep. However, the strongest associations for both more and less sleep were seen with depression, anxiety, and loneliness. In summary, changes in sleep duration since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic were highly prevalent among social media users and were associated with several sociodemographic factors and beliefs that COVID-19 would have adverse personal impacts. However, the strongest associations occurred with worse mental health suggesting that improvements may occur with better sleep. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/08964289.2021.2002800.
Examining Mother-Reported Poor Sleep and Blood Pressure in Black/African American Mother-Child DyadsRobbins, R., Diclemente, R. J., Ejikeme, C., Crusto, C. A., & Taylor, J. Y.
Journal titleJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Page(s)116-123AbstractBackground Poor sleep is a confirmed risk factor for hypertension (HTN), and Black/African American (AA) women have among the highest rates of HTN in the United States. Objective We examined the relationship between sleep and blood pressure (BP) among Black/AA mother-child dyads using data from the Intergenerational Impact of Genetic and Psychological Factors on Blood Pressure study. Methods Data for this study were derived from 250 Black/AA mother-child dyads from low-income neighborhoods, collected via 4 home visits over 2 years. Mothers reported poor sleep, including reports of sleeping worse than usual and nighttime awakenings. Recordings of BP were obtained for mother and child. Mother BP was scored as normal (<120/<80 mm Hg), elevated (120-129/<80 mm Hg), stage 1 HTN (130-139/80-89 mm Hg), or stage 2 HTN (systolic ≥140 or diastolic ≥90 mm Hg). Generalized linear models examined the relationships between mother-reported poor sleep variables and both mother and child BP. Adjusted models examining mother BP controlled for the mother's age, education, marital status, smoking, body mass index, and depression symptoms. Results In adjusted models, nighttime awakenings were associated with stage 2 HTN (b = 2.70, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-4.86, P <.05). Compared with children whose mother who had normal BP, children whose mother had elevated BP had higher diastolic BP (b = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.19-0.54; P <.001). Mother elevated BP was associated with both child systolic BP (b = 2.49; 95% CI, 0.44-4.53; P <.05) and diastolic BP (b = 2.07; 95% CI, 0.39-3.76; P <.05). Mother stage 1 HTN was associated with both child systolic BP (b = 2.16; 95% CI, 0.29-4.03; P <.05) and diastolic BP (b = 3.91; 95% CI, 2.40-5.42; P <.001). We detected a significant interaction between mother stage 2 HTN and mother nighttime awakenings in predicting higher child diastolic BP (b = 8.16; 95% CI, 0.65-15.68; P <.05). Conclusions We found evidence for an association between mothers' nighttime awakenings and very high BP. Our study also illuminated a strong relationship between high mother BP and high child BP. Finally, our study found preliminary support for the potentially mediating role of mothers' nighttime awakenings in predicting the relationship between mother stage 2 HTN and child BP.
Factors associated with phosphatidylethanol (PEth) sensitivity for detecting unhealthy alcohol use: An individual patient data meta-analysisHahn, J. A., Murnane, P. M., Vittinghoff, E., Muyindike, W. R., Emenyonu, N. I., Fatch, R., Chamie, G., Haberer, J. E., Francis, J. M., Kapiga, S., Jacobson, K., Myers, B., Couture, M. C., DiClemente, R. J., Brown, J. L., So-Armah, K., Sulkowski, M., Marcus, G. M., Woolf-King, S., Cook, R. L., Richards, V. L., Molina, P., Ferguson, T., Welsh, D., Piano, M. R., Phillips, S. A., Stewart, S., Afshar, M., Page, K., McGinnis, K., Fiellin, D. A., Justice, A. C., Bryant, K., & Saitz, R.
Journal titleAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Page(s)1166-1187AbstractBackground: Objective measurement of alcohol consumption is important for clinical care and research. Adjusting for self-reported alcohol use, we conducted an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to examine factors associated with the sensitivity of phosphatidylethanol (PEth), an alcohol metabolite, among persons self-reporting unhealthy alcohol consumption. Methods: We identified 21 eligible studies and obtained 4073 observations from 3085 participants with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test—Consumption (AUDIT-C) positive scores (≥3 for women and ≥4 for men) and PEth measurements. We conducted 1-step IPD meta-analysis using mixed effects models with random intercepts for study site. We examined the associations between demographic (sex, race/ethnicity, and age) and biologic (body mass index—BMI, hemoglobin, HIV status, liver fibrosis, and venous versus finger-prick blood collection) variables with PEth sensitivity (PEth≥8 ng/ml), adjusting for the level of self-reported alcohol use using the AUDIT-C score. Results: One third (31%) of participants were women, 32% were African, 28% African American, 28% White, and 12% other race/ethnicity. PEth sensitivity (i.e., ≥8 ng/ml) was 81.8%. After adjusting for AUDIT-C, we found no associations of sex, age, race/ethnicity, or method of blood collection with PEth sensitivity. In models that additionally included biologic variables, those with higher hemoglobin and indeterminate and advanced liver fibrosis had significantly higher odds of PEth sensitivity; those with higher BMI and those living with HIV had significantly lower odds of PEth sensitivity. African Americans and Africans had higher odds of PEth sensitivity than whites in models that included biologic variables. Conclusions: Among people reporting unhealthy alcohol use, several biological factors (hemoglobin, BMI, liver fibrosis, and HIV status) were associated with PEth sensitivity. Race/ethnicity was associated with PEth sensitivity in some models but age, sex, and method of blood collection were not. Clinicians should be aware of these factors, and researchers should consider adjusting analyses for these characteristics where possible.
Food insecurity among households with children during the COVID-19 pandemic: results from a study among social media users across the United StatesParekh, N., Ali, S. H., O’Connor, J., Tozan, Y., Jones, A. M., Capasso, A., Foreman, J., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleNutrition Journal
Issue1AbstractBackground: In the United States, approximately 11% of households were food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aims to describe the prevalence of food insecurity among adults and households with children living in the United States during the pandemic. Methods: This study utilized social media as a recruitment platform to administer an original online survey on demographics and COVID-related food insecurity. The survey was disseminated through an advertisement campaign on Facebook and affiliated platforms. Food insecurity was assessed with a validated six-item United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module, which was used to create a six-point numerical food security score, where a higher score indicates lower food security. Individual-level participant demographic information was also collected. Logistic regressions (low/very-low compared with high/marginal food security) were performed to generate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) and 95%CIs for food insecurity and select demographic characteristics. Results: Advertisements reached 250,701 individuals and resulted in 5,606 complete surveys. Overall, 14.7% of participants self-identified as having low or very low food security in their households, with higher prevalence (17.5%) among households with children. Unemployment (AOR:1.76, 95%CI:1.09–2.80), high school or lower education (AOR:2.25, 95%CI:1.29–3.90), and low income (AOR[$30,000-$50,000]:5.87, 95%CI:3.35–10.37; AOR[< $30,000]:10.61, 95%CI:5.50–20.80) were associated with higher odds of food insecurity in multivariable models among households with children (and the whole sample). Conclusions: These data indicate exacerbation of food insecurity during the pandemic. The study will be instrumental in guiding additional research and time-sensitive interventions targeted towards vulnerable food insecure subgroups.
Heavy Alcohol Use is Associated with Lower CD4 Counts among Russian Women Living with HIV: A Multilevel AnalysisCapasso, A., Brown, J. L., Safonova, P., Belyakov, N., Rassokhin, V., & DiClemente, R. J.
Journal titleAIDS and Behavior
Page(s)3734-3742AbstractAlcohol use remains prevalent among Russian women with HIV infection. Multilevel mixed effects models were used to estimate the association of heavy drinking and HIV outcomes among women (N = 250 at baseline; N = 207 at follow-up), aged 18–35, engaged in HIV care in Saint Petersburg. Alcohol use was assessed at baseline and 3 months by self-report and by the biomarker phosphatidylethanol (PEth). Overall, 35% of women were heavy drinkers, defined as women reporting ≥ 1 past-30-day heavy drinking episode (≥ 4 standard drinks on one occasion) or with PEth blood levels ≥ 80 ng/mL. Women who engaged in heavy drinking had an average 41 CD4 cells/mm3 (95% CI = − 81, − 2; z = − 2.04; P = 0.042) fewer than those who did not. Heavy drinking was associated with higher HIV symptom burden (IRR = 1.20; 95% CI = 1.05, 1.36; z = 2.73; P = 0.006) and suboptimal antiretroviral adherence (OR = 3.04; 95% CI = 1.27, 7.28; χ2 = 2.50; P = 0.013), but not with viral load. Findings support the integration of alcohol treatment interventions as part of routine HIV care in Russia.
Heterogeneity of Sexual Risk Profiles Among Juvenile Justice-Involved African American Girls
Horizons and Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy: HIV Prevention for Alcohol-Using Young Black Women, a Randomized ExperimentDiClemente, R. J., Rosenbaum, J. E., Rose, E. S., Sales, J. M., Brown, J. L., Renfro, T. L., Bradley, E. L., Davis, T. L., Capasso, A., Wingood, G. M., Liu, Y., West, S. G., Hardin, J. W., Bryan, A. D., & Feldstein Ewing, S. W.
Journal titleAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Page(s)629-638AbstractIntroduction: Black women are at disproportionately greater risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections than women of other ethnic/racial backgrounds. Alcohol use may further elevate the risk of HIV/sexually transmitted infection acquisition and transmission. Study Design: A random-assignment parallel-group comparative treatment efficacy trial was conducted with random assignment to 1 of 3 conditions. Setting/participants: The sample comprised 560 Black or African American women aged 18–24 years who reported recent unprotected vaginal or anal sex and recent alcohol use. Participants were recruited from community settings in Atlanta, Georgia, from January 2012 to February 2014. Intervention: A Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy module was designed to complement a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–designated evidence-based intervention (Horizons) to reduce sexual risk behaviors, alcohol use, and sexually transmitted infections, with 3 comparison groups: (1) Horizons + Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy intervention, (2) Horizons + General Health Promotion intervention, and (3) enhanced standard of care. Main outcome measures: Outcome measures included safe sex (abstinence or 100% condom use); condom nonuse; proportion of condom use during sexual episodes; incident chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas infections; and problematic alcohol use measured by Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score. Treatment effects were estimated using an intention-to-treat protocol‒generalized estimating equations with logistic regression for binomial outcomes and Poisson regression for count outcomes. Analyses were conducted between October 2018 and October 2019. Results: Participants assigned to Horizons + Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy had greater odds of safe sex (AOR=1.45, 95% CI=1.04, 2.02, p=0.03), greater proportion of condom use (AOR=1.68, 95% CI=1.18, 2.41, p=0.004), and lower odds of condom nonuse (AOR=0.57, 95% CI=0.38, 0.83, p=0.004). Both interventions had lower odds of problematic alcohol use (Horizons: AOR=0.57, 95% CI=0.39, 0.85, p=0.006; Horizons + Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy: AOR=0.61, 95% CI=0.41, 0.90, p=0.01). Conclusions: Complementing an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention with Group Motivational Enhancement Therapy may increase safer sexual behaviors and concomitantly reduce alcohol use among young Black women who consume alcohol. Trial registration: This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT01553682.
Impact of COVID-19-related knowledge on protective behaviors: The moderating role of primary sources of informationKim, S., Capasso, A., Cook, S. H., Ali, S. H., Jones, A. M., Foreman, J., DiClemente, R. J., & Tozan, Y.
Journal titlePloS one
Issue11AbstractThis study assessed the modifying role of primary source of COVID-19 information in the association between knowledge and protective behaviors related to COVID-19 among adults living in the United States (US). Data was collected from 6,518 US adults through an online cross-sectional self-administered survey via social media platforms in April 2020. Linear regression was performed on COVID-19 knowledge and behavior scores, adjusted for sociodemographic factors. An interaction term between knowledge score and primary information source was included to observe effect modification by primary information source. Higher levels of knowledge were associated with increased self-reported engagement with protective behaviors against COVID-19. The primary information source significantly moderated the association between knowledge and behavior, and analyses of simple slopes revealed significant differences by primary information source. This study shows the important role of COVID-19 information sources in affecting people's engagement in recommended protective behaviors. Governments and health agencies should monitor the use of various information sources to effectively engage the public and translate knowledge into behavior change during an evolving public health crisis like COVID-19.