Stephanie Cook

Stephanie Cook
Stephanie Cook

Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Professional overview

Dr. Stephanie Cook’s overarching research focus is to understand how structural- and individual-level minority stressors contribute to mental health, physical health, and health behaviors across the life span. Further, she seeks to understand how features of close relationships can exacerbate or buffer the negative effects of minority stress on health. Her work primarily focuses on young adults transitioning to adulthood who are at the intersection of racial/ethnic and sexual orientation status. In addition, much of her current work examines the links between minority stress (i.e., daily experiences of discrimination) and biological markers of stress (e.g. cortisol and c-reactive protein).

Dr. Cook’s substantive methodological and statistical focus is in the development and application of longitudinal study designs (i.e., intensive longitudinal designs) for determining the ways in which dynamic changes in features of minority stress (e.g., daily and momentary discrimination events) are associated with changes in risk behaviors and physical health (e.g., sexual risk and substance use, pre-clinical cardiovascular disease, and biological stress) among racial/ethnic and/or sexual minority young adults. 

Dr. Cook is the Director of the Attachment and Health Disparities Research Lab (AHDL) which is currently made up of about 20 undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellows. She I developed an integrated theory of adult attachment (the Integrated Attachment and Sexual Minority Stress Model [IASMS]; i.e., the development, or lack, of strong socio-emotional bonds) and minority stress (i.e., social stress experienced by individuals in minority social groups) as a means to better understand and address the health needs of disadvantaged youth transitioning to adulthood. Dr. Cook and her team’s long-term goal is to continue creating, implementing, and refining sustainable interventions to reduce the influence of stress on health utilizing innovative methodologies.

Current Projects

  • Identifying Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms Linking Discrimination and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease among Racially Diverse Young Sexual Minority Men
  • Minority Stress, Substance Use, and Pre-Clinical Cardiovascular Risk among Sexual Minority Men: Understanding the Protective Features of Social Support
  • Optimizing a Daily Mindfulness Intervention to Reduce Stress from Discrimination among Sexual and Gender Minorities of Color
  • Race modifies the association between post-traumatic stress disorder and cardiovascular risk in large US population-based study

Teaching

Social and Behavioral Sciences Department

  • Global Issues in Social and Behavioral Health
  • Research Methods in Public Health

Biostatistics Department

  • Longitudinal Analysis of Public Health Data
  • Regression I: Regression Analysis and Multivariate Modeling
  • Regression II: Categorical Data Analysis

Education

BA, Psychology and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
DrPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY

Honors and awards

Loan Repayment Program, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2021)
BioData Catalyst Fellowship, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) (2021)
Diverse Magazine Emerging Scholar: Issues In Higher Education Publication, (2021)
Program to Increase Diversity in Cardiovascular Health Related Research (PRIDE) Fellowship (2020)
American Psychosomatic Society (APS) Diversity Award (2020)
National Institute of Minority Health Disparities Loan Repayment Award (2018)
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research Scholarship, The University of Michigan (2018)
Robert Wood Johnson Fellow (RWJF) New Connections Sponsored Scholar (2018)
HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) Award (2017)
Robert Wood Johnson Fellow (RWJF) New Connections Sponsored Scholar (2017)
Matilda White Riley Distinguished Early Stage Investigator Award, National Institutes of Health (Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences) (2016)
Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award, The University of Michigan (2015)
American Psychological Association Smoking Dissemination Award (2015)
Poster Award, Excellence in Innovation and Advanced Research in the Field of Sexual Health, American Public Health Association (2014)
Excellence in Abstract Submission, American Public Health Association (2011)

Areas of research and study

Biostatistics
Cardiovascular Disease
HIV/AIDS
Intersectionality Theory
Longitudinal Methods
Minority Health
Minority Stress
Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST)
Physiological Stress
Social Behaviors

Publications

Publications

An emerging syndemic of smoking and cardiopulmonary diseases in people living with HIV in Africa

Peprah, E., Armstrong-Hough, M., Cook, S. H., Mukasa, B., Taylor, J. Y., Xu, H., Chang, L., Gyamfi, J., Ryan, N., Ojo, T., Snyder, A., Iwelunmor, J., Ezechi, O., Iyegbe, C., O’reilly, P., & Kengne, A. P.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

International journal of environmental research and public health

Volume

18

Issue

6

Page(s)

1-12
Abstract
Abstract
Background: African countries have the highest number of people living with HIV (PWH). The continent is home to 12% of the global population, but accounts for 71% of PWH globally. Antiretroviral therapy has played an important role in the reduction of the morbidity and mortality rates for HIV, which necessitates increased surveillance of the threats from pernicious risks to which PWH who live longer remain exposed. This includes cardiopulmonary comorbidities, which pose significant public health and economic challenges. A significant contributor to the cardiopulmonary comorbidities is tobacco smoking. Indeed, globally, PWH have a 2–4-fold higher utilization of tobacco compared to the general population, leading to endothelial dysfunction and atherogenesis that result in cardiopulmonary diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary artery disease. In the context of PWH, we discuss (1) the current trends in cigarette smoking and (2) the lack of geographically relevant data on the cardiopulmonary conditions associated with smoking; we then review (3) the current evidence on chronic inflammation induced by smoking and the potential pathways for cardiopulmonary disease and (4) the multifactorial nature of the syndemic of smoking, HIV, and cardiopulmonary diseases. This commentary calls for a major, multi-setting cohort study using a syndemics framework to assess cardiopulmonary disease outcomes among PWH who smoke. Conclusion: We call for a parallel program of implementation research to promote the adoption of evidence-based interventions, which could improve health outcomes for PWH with cardiopulmonary diseases and address the health inequities experienced by PWH in African countries.

Assessing Perceptions of Broad Consent Concerning Biological Specimen Collection in a Cohort of Young Sexual Minority Men

Cook, S. H., Wood, E. P., Jaiswal, J., Castro, R., Calderon, L., Qi, Y., & Llaneza, A.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Archives of Sexual Behavior

Volume

50

Issue

7

Page(s)

3313-3321
Abstract
Abstract
The use of broad consent to store human biospecimens to be used in future research studies has increased over the years. However, it is currently unknown how young sexual minority men (YSMM) perceive broad consent in these specific types of studies. Therefore, in this study we aimed to determine the extent to which YSMM are comfortable with providing broad consent concerning their identifiable biological specimens to a variety of entities, including external researchers and pharmaceutical companies and to examine the relationship between mistrust based on racial/ethnic identity or sexual orientation and attitudes toward broad consent. YSMM (N = 239) ages 24–27 years were recruited from a prospective cohort study in New York City in 2018 to complete a survey assessing attitudes about the use of broad consent concerning biospecimens for secondary research. We found that YSMM were most willing to provide broad consent to the researcher from the study they were enrolled in (85.3%), other researchers within the same university (82.4%), and researchers at other universities (74.5%). Participants were least willing to provide broad consent to government organizations (64.4%) and pharmaceutical companies (53.8%). Further, we found that medical mistrust based on racial/ethnic identity or sexual orientation was associated with attitudes toward the use of broad consent. Research institutions should consider modifying consent procedures around the use of broad consent in order to maximize recruitment and retention, especially among minority populations.

Identifying diurnal cortisol profiles among young adults: Physiological signatures of mental health trajectories

Hoyt, L. T., Zeiders, K. H., Chaku, N., Niu, L., & Cook, S. H.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Psychoneuroendocrinology

Volume

128
Abstract
Abstract
Previous research has used cortisol, the major hormonal byproduct of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis system, to explore how environmental stressors influence daily physiological functioning. Most of the research focused on diurnal cortisol has examined specific cortisol markers, with little consideration of how different components of the diurnal pattern may co-occur. Morning level, cortisol awakening response (CAR), bedtime level, as well as the diurnal slope and total cortisol exposure throughout the day (area under the curve; AUC), are five common parameters of diurnal HPA axis functioning that have been individually linked to physical and mental health outcomes, with mixed results. The current study introduces a novel approach to capture heterogeneity in HPA axis activity by using latent profile analysis to generate empirically-derived, theoretically supported diurnal cortisol profiles based on all five indicators. We analyzed salivary cortisol data from 278 young adults during a time of heightened sociopolitical stress – the 2016 U.S. presidential election – and examined whether profiles differentially predicted mental health trajectories across six months. Findings suggest that a specific combination of cortisol parameters (i.e., flat slope, high AUC, and high CAR) may predict worse mental health risk over time. Overall, this work suggests that diurnal cortisol profiles likely reflect distinct physiological underpinnings with unique health consequences that may not be observed by studying individual cortisol parameters.

Impact of COVID-19-related knowledge on protective behaviors: The moderating role of primary sources of information

Kim, S., Capasso, A., Cook, S. H., Ali, S. H., Jones, A. M., Foreman, J., DiClemente, R. J., & Tozan, Y.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

PloS one

Volume

16

Issue

11
Abstract
Abstract
This 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.

Social Determinants in Machine Learning Cardiovascular Disease Prediction Models: A Systematic Review

Zhao, Y., Wood, E. P., Mirin, N., Cook, S. H., & Chunara, R.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

American journal of preventive medicine

Volume

61

Issue

4

Page(s)

596-605
Abstract
Abstract
Introduction: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and cardiovascular disease burden is increasing in low-resource settings and for lower socioeconomic groups. Machine learning algorithms are being developed rapidly and incorporated into clinical practice for cardiovascular disease prediction and treatment decisions. Significant opportunities for reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease worldwide lie with accounting for the social determinants of cardiovascular outcomes. This study reviews how social determinants of health are being included in machine learning algorithms to inform best practices for the development of algorithms that account for social determinants. Methods: A systematic review using 5 databases was conducted in 2020. English language articles from any location published from inception to April 10, 2020, which reported on the use of machine learning for cardiovascular disease prediction that incorporated social determinants of health, were included. Results: Most studies that compared machine learning algorithms and regression showed increased performance of machine learning, and most studies that compared performance with or without social determinants of health showed increased performance with them. The most frequently included social determinants of health variables were gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, occupation, and income. Studies were largely from North America, Europe, and China, limiting the diversity of the included populations and variance in social determinants of health. Discussion: Given their flexibility, machine learning approaches may provide an opportunity to incorporate the complex nature of social determinants of health. The limited variety of sources and data in the reviewed studies emphasize that there is an opportunity to include more social determinants of health variables, especially environmental ones, that are known to impact cardiovascular disease risk and that recording such data in electronic databases will enable their use.

Predicting trajectories of substance use during emerging adulthood: Exploring the benefits of group-based trajectory modeling for zero-inflated outcomes

Cook, S. H., Wood, E. P., Scott, M., Pierce, K. A., Kapadia, F., & Halkitis, P. N.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

TPM - Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology

Volume

27

Issue

3

Page(s)

291-311
Abstract
Abstract
The application of group-based trajectory analysis with a zero-inflation specification to understand adaptations in alcohol and marijuana use among sexual minorities during the emerging adulthood period is underutilized. We propose a series of four steps in the application of group-based trajectory analysis for outcomes that follow a zero-inflated distribution. In addition, using a longitudinal cohort study of emerging adult sexual minority men (n = 597) we provide an example of how to obtain group-based trajectory profiles of alcohol and marijuana use among emerging adult sexual minority men with a zeroinflated specification. In addition, we examined racial/ethnic differences in trajectory profiles. Findings suggest that there were five distinct alcohol and marijuana use trajectories that were reliably predicted by racial/ethnic identity for alcohol but not marijuana utilizing the zero-inflated specification. A summary of findings and concluding remarks related to the utility of this modeling technique are presented.

Using Digital Data to Protect and Promote the Most Vulnerable in the Fight Against COVID-19

Chunara, R., & Cook, S. H.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Frontiers in Public Health

Volume

8

Father support is protective against the negative effects of perceived discrimination on CRP among sexual minorities but not heterosexuals

Wood, E. P., & Cook, S. H.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Psychoneuroendocrinology

Volume

110
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Exposure to sexual orientation-related discrimination among sexual minorities may lead to elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) as compared to their heterosexual counterparts. However, little is known about factors that may buffer the association between discrimination and CRP among sexual minorities versus heterosexuals. The current study examined if the association between discrimination, sexual orientation, and CRP differed across levels of social support from one's father/father-figure or mother/mother-figure between sexual minorities and heterosexuals. Methods: Data came from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). The sample sizes for father support and mother support was 3167 and 3575, respectively. Participants ranged in age from 24 to 33 years. Stratified linear regression models examined if father and mother support moderated the association between discrimination and CRP among sexual minorities and heterosexuals. Results: Father support significantly moderated the association between discrimination and CRP among sexual minorities but not heterosexuals. Sexual minorities with higher father support and who experienced discrimination had lower CRP as compared to those with lower father support and who experienced discrimination. Mother support did not moderate the association between discrimination and CRP among either sexual minorities or heterosexuals. Conclusion: Father support may mitigate the negative effects of stress from discrimination on CRP among sexual minorities. Future research should further examine the potential differential role that father support may play in reducing cardiovascular risk among sexual minorities versus heterosexuals who experience discrimination.

Positive Development and Changes in Self-Rated Health Among Young Sexual Minority Males: The P18 Cohort Study

Kapadia, F., D’Avanzo, P. A., Cook, S. H., Barton, S., Halkitis, S. N., & Halkitis, P.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Behavioral Medicine

Volume

45

Issue

4

Page(s)

304-313
Abstract
Abstract
We seek to move beyond a deficits-based approach, which has dominated our understanding of health and wellbeing in in young sexual minority males (YSMM), by examining how indicators of positive development are associated with development of positive self-rated health in YSMM. Using data from a prospective cohort study of YSMM (n = 514; 18–22 years old; 36.9% Hispanic/Latino, 15.6% non-Hispanic Black, 30.2% White, 16.9% other/multi-racial), we examined how three measures of positive development–the Life Orientation Test, the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) and the Social Responsibility Scale (SRS) were associated with self-rated health (SRH), a valid and reliable measure of self-assessed general health status. Findings suggest that YSMM who self-identified as homosexual reported higher SRH while those who reported higher levels of substance use and mental health burdens reported lower SRH. Second, in linear growth models controlling for mental health burdens and substance use, higher scores on all measures of positive development were associated with higher ratings of SRH over time. In conclusion, the presence of positive development characteristics, specifically generalized optimism, life satisfaction and social responsibility, may buffer against negative SRH assessments. Health promotion programs focusing on positive development may more effectively promote health and well-being among YSMM.

The Mediating Role of Emotion Dysregulation in the Relation Between Adult Attachment Insecurity and Depression Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men

Wood, E. P., Cook, S. H., & Calebs, B. J.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

International Journal of Sexual Health

Volume

31

Issue

2

Page(s)

186-195
Abstract
Abstract
Objectives: Attachment insecurity may be more pronounced among young gay and bisexual men (YGBM). Further, attachment insecurity is associated with dysregulated patterns of emotion regulation, which can lead to depression. However, pathways linking attachment insecurity to depression are underexplored among YGBM. Methods: This study used pilot data from N = 67 YGBM to examine if emotion dysregulation mediated the association between attachment insecurity and depression. Results: Results supported the study hypotheses. Attachment insecurity was associated with emotion dysregulation, which was associated with depression. Conclusion: Findings provide preliminary evidence that emotion regulation training may be a useful approach for addressing depression among YGBM.

Understanding Attachment Transitions Through the Lived Experiences of Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men

Cook, S. H., Valera, P., Wood, E. P., Calebs, B. J., & Wilson, P. A.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Journal of Sex Research

Volume

56

Issue

4

Page(s)

604-619
Abstract
Abstract
We conducted a mixed-methods study to identify factors that influence transitions in attachment style between childhood and adulthood among 28 young Black gay and bisexual men (YBGBM) in the United States. We used a phenomenological approach to data integration, with the major component to the results being garnered from the qualitative interviews. We organized our results by four attachment transition groups: stable secure (secure attachment in childhood and young adulthood), stable insecure (insecure attachment in childhood and young adulthood), secure to insecure (secure in childhood and insecure in adulthood) and insecure to secure (insecure in childhood and secure in adulthood). Within each of the typologies, two major themes emerged: social support and religion. Generally, transitions from secure to insecure attachment were related to experiences of perceived rejection by a parental figure during adolescence that corresponded with sexual orientation disclosure. Transitions from insecure to secure attachment appeared to be related to the absence of an attachment figure early in life, but with the acquisition of an attachment figure during early to late adolescence. The findings from our study suggest a need for attachment-based approaches to social support interventions, as well as for an increased understanding of social and cultural factors that impact attachment changes among practitioners who use attachment-based therapy models for YBGBM.

Are trajectories of a syndemic index in adolescence linked to HIV vulnerability in emerging and young adulthood?

Córdova, D., Heinze, J. E., Hsieh, H. F., Mistry, R., Salas-Wright, C. P., Cook, S. H., & Zimmerman, M. A.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

AIDS

Volume

32

Issue

4

Page(s)

495-503
Abstract
Abstract
Objectives: To examine trajectories of adolescent psychosocial risk-drug use, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and violence victimization and observation-and the longitudinal relationship between psychosocial risk trajectories during adolescence and HIV risk behaviors in adulthood. Methods: The 18-year longitudinal study was conducted from September 1994 through May 2013, in Michigan. Eight hundred and fifty predominantly (80%) African-American adolescents completed demographics and measures of drug use, depressive and anxiety symptoms, violence victimization and observation at Times 1-4, sexual risk behaviors at Times 5 and 6, and social conditions (i.e. family, peer, and community-level factors) between 14.9 and 32.0 years of age. Results: Growth mixture modeling revealed two trajectories of psychosocial risk factors which can be characterized as a syndemic index: high-frequency and low-frequency. The high-frequency class was more likely to report HIV risk behaviors, including condomless sex at last sexual intercourse with their primary and secondary partner, sexual intercourse with someone they just met, at least four sexual partners, and licit and illicit drug use prior to sexual intercourse at Time 5 (mean age 23.1). At Time 6 (mean age 32.0), the high-frequency class was more likely to report sexual intercourse with someone they just met and at least four sexual partners, relative to the low-frequency class. In addition, the high-frequency class was linked to peer and family-level indicators of social conditions. Conclusion: A syndemic index comprised of co-occurring psychosocial risk factors in adolescence seem to have lasting effects on the vulnerability to engage in HIV risk behaviors in emerging adulthood, some of which extend into young adulthood.

Family conflict, chaos, and negative life events predict cortisol activity in low-income children

Doom, J. R., Cook, S. H., Sturza, J., Kaciroti, N., Gearhardt, A. N., Vazquez, D. M., Lumeng, J. C., & Miller, A. L.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Developmental Psychobiology

Volume

60

Issue

4

Page(s)

364-379
Abstract
Abstract
Childhood poverty is hypothesized to increase risk for mental and physical health problems at least in part through dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. However, less is known about the specific psychosocial stressors associated with cortisol reactivity and regulation for children living in poverty. The current study investigates negative life events, household chaos, and family conflict in preschool and middle childhood as potential predictors of cortisol regulation in low-income 7–10 year olds (N = 242; M age = 7.9 years). Participants were assessed in preschool and participated in a follow-up assessment in middle childhood, during which diurnal free cortisol and free cortisol reactivity to the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) were assessed. Household chaos during preschool predicted a more blunted diurnal cortisol slope in middle childhood. Greater negative life events during preschool and greater concurrent family conflict were associated with increased free cortisol reactivity in middle childhood.

Friendship Attachment Style Moderates the Effect of Adolescent Exposure to Violence on Emerging Adult Depression and Anxiety Trajectories

Heinze, J. E., Cook, S. H., Wood, E. P., Dumadag, A. C., & Zimmerman, M. A.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Volume

47

Issue

1

Page(s)

177-193
Abstract
Abstract
Exposure to violence during adolescence is associated with increased risk behaviors and mental health problems in adulthood. Friendship attachment during adolescence may, however, mitigate the negative effects of exposure to violence on trajectories of depression and anxiety in young adulthood. In this study, we used growth curve modeling to examine associations between exposure to violence and mental health outcomes, followed by multi-group analyses with friendship attachment as the moderator. The sample was drawn from a longitudinal study (12 waves; 1994–2012) of 676 (54% female) urban high school students. We found strong positive associations between exposure to violence during adolescence and later self-reported depressive and anxiety symptoms. Notably, securely attached adolescents reported faster decreases in mental health symptoms as a function of violence relative to their insecurely attached peers as they transitioned into adulthood.

Psychometric analysis of the life worries scale for a new generation of sexual minority men: The P18 cohort study

Halkitis, P. N., Cook, S. H., Ristuccia, A., Despotoulis, J., Levy, M. D., Bates, F. C., & Kapadia, F.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Health Psychology

Volume

37

Issue

1

Page(s)

89-101
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: Sexual minority men (SMM) in the United States continue to experience adverse health problems and psychosocial burdens. However, there is limited psychometric research seeking to quantify the life worries of this population. Informed by syndemic theory, the Life Worries Scale (LWS) was developed to measure the concerns of young SMM. Method: Analyses of the scale were undertaken using baseline data (n = 665) from an ongoing cohort study of emerging adult, SMM. Results: Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) of an initial set of 24 Likert-type items, followed by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and an exploratory structural equation model (ESEM), indicated a structure consisting of 6 domains of worries: financial stability, social stability, self esteem, loneliness, physical appearance, and physical health. These 6 subscales were highly correlated and also demonstrated high levels of internal consistency. Differences in life worries were noted across demographic states, specifically HIV serostatus, sexual attraction, housing status, and self-rated health. High levels of association were also detected between all 6 subscales with both depression and PTSD, while significant correlations were detected between suicidality and both self esteem and loneliness related worries. Conclusions: The results of our analyses provide evidence for the strong psychometric characteristics of the LWS. This newly developed instrument should be utilized in research to examine the extent to which life worries explain health outcomes and risk behaviors in sexual minority males, and may be potentially extended for use in other populations.

Relationship cognitions and longitudinal trajectories of sexual risk behavior among young gay and bisexual men: The P18 cohort study

Cook, S. H., Halkitis, P. N., & Kapadia, F.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Journal of health psychology

Volume

23

Issue

14

Page(s)

1884-1894
Abstract
Abstract
This study examines how romantic relationship cognitions are associated with changes of condomless anal sex among emerging adult gay and bisexual men. The sample was drawn from four waves of a prospective cohort study (N = 598; M age = 18.2). Results suggest that condomless anal sex increased over the emerging adulthood period. Romantic relationship fear was associated with increased receptive condomless anal sex. Perceptions of greater romantic relationship control increased the likelihood of having insertive and receptive condomless anal sex. Findings suggest that romantic relationship cognitions are important to consider when understanding longitudinal changes in condomless anal sex in this population.

Sexual orientation moderates the association between parental overprotection and stress biomarker profiles

Cook, S. H., Pruessner, J. C., Lupien, S. J., & Juster, R. P.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Psychology and Sexuality

Volume

9

Issue

3

Page(s)

204-220
Abstract
Abstract
Early experiences with parents may be particularly difficult for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals who face stigma that is linked to potentially distinct stress-related biobehavioural profiles. This study examined the association between parental bonding in relation to acute stress (cortisol reactivity) and chronic stress (allostatic load) in LGB and heterosexual individuals. The sample consisted of 87 healthy adults (mean [SD] age = 24.6 [0.6] years; LGB: n = 46, 43% women; and heterosexual n = 41, 49% women). Regressions tested the main effects of retrospectively assessed parental overprotection and care before the age of 16 on stress reactive cortisol (area under the curve) and allostatic load (indexed using 21 neuroendocrine, immune, metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers), and whether sexual orientation status moderated this association. Results revealed that parental overprotection was associated with increased cortisol reactivity only for LGB participants, but not for heterosexual participants. By contrast, parental overprotection was associated with higher allostatic load only for heterosexual participants, but not for LGB participants. While the functional significance of this requires further study, these preliminary findings suggest that adaptive processes among LGB individuals may mitigate the negative effects of parental overprotection on markers of chronic stress.

Stress levels are associated with poor sleep health among sexual minority men in Paris, France

Mountcastle, H. D., Park, S. H., Al-Ajlouni, Y. A., Goedel, W. C., Cook, S., Lupien, S., Obasi, E. M., Hale, L., Jean-Louis, G., Redline, S., & Duncan, D. T.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Sleep Health

Volume

4

Issue

5

Page(s)

436-441
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the association between perceived stress and sleep health among a sample of sexual minority men (SMM). Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Paris, France. Participants: Gay, bisexual and other SMM users ≥18 years on a geosocial networking application in Paris, France (N = 580). Measurements: Participants were directed to a web-based survey measuring stress, sleep health, and socio-demographics. Multivariate log-binomial regression models were used to estimate the adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to examine how stress may affect different dimensions of sleep health: 1) poor sleep quality, 2) short sleep duration, 3) problems falling asleep, and 4) problems staying awake in the daytime. Results: Most participants (69.9%) reported at least sometimes feeling stressed (compared to never or rarely). Additionally, results demonstrate that higher perceived stress was associated with poorer sleep health; compared with those who reported feeling stress never or rarely, those who felt stress sometimes, often, or always were more likely to experience poor sleep quality (aRR = 6.67; 95% CI = 3.61–12.3), short sleep duration (aRR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.17–2.38), problems falling asleep (aRR = 3.20; 95% CI = 2.26–4.52), and problems staying awake during the daytime (aRR = 3.52; 95% CI = 1.64–7.53). Conclusion: Elevated perceived stress can negatively influence sleep health among SMM in Paris, France.

Teacher-Based Racial Discrimination: The Role of Racial Pride and Religiosity Among African American and Caribbean Black Adolescents

Butler-Barnes, S. T., Cook, S., Leath, S., & Caldwell, C.

Publication year

2018

Journal title

Race and Social Problems

Volume

10

Issue

1

Page(s)

30-41
Abstract
Abstract
This study explored the extent to which private regard and religiosity beliefs serve as protective factors for school bonding among African American and Caribbean black adolescents who experience racial discrimination in school. Findings are drawn from a nationally representative sample of (n = 810) African American and (n = 360) Caribbean black adolescents (52% girls) aged 13–17 (Mage = 15, SD = 1.42) years. Results suggest that perceiving racial discrimination from teachers was associated with lower levels of school bonding for African American and Caribbean black adolescents. For African American adolescents, perceiving more racial discrimination from teachers and reporting lower private regard beliefs was associated with less school bonding. The findings for Caribbean black adolescents revealed that endorsing moderate levels of religiosity and perceiving higher rates of teacher discrimination was associated with less school bonding. The developmental significance and implications for future research are discussed.

Adult attachment as a moderator of the association between childhood traumatic experiences and depression symptoms among young black gay and bisexual men

Cook, S. H., Valera, P., Calebs, B. J., & Wilson, P. A.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology

Volume

23

Issue

3

Page(s)

388-397
Abstract
Abstract
The present study examined the moderating effect of adult attachment on the association between childhood traumatic experiences, (i.e., physical abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and being bullied), age of childhood traumatic experience, and young adult depression symptoms among young Black gay and bisexual men (YBGBM). Method: Self-report measures of attachment, childhood traumatic experiences, and depression symptoms were collected from a community-based sample of YBGBM living in New York City (n = 228). Regression analyses were conducted to address the study goals. Results: Findings indicated that YBGBM who were more anxious in their adult attachment style and experienced being bullied or physically abused by a non-family member during childhood experienced greater depression in young adulthood than YBGBM who were less anxious in their adult attachment style. In addition, we found that being bullied later in childhood was associated with greater depression symptoms than being bullied earlier. Lastly, we found that YBGBM who were more avoidant and bullied later in adolescence reported more depression symptoms in young adulthood than YBGBM who were less avoidant in their attachment style. Discussion: The findings suggest that it may be important to utilize an attachment perspective that is sensitive to age of traumatic experience when creating mental health and trauma interventions for YBGBM.

Cortisol profiles differ by race/ethnicity among young sexual minority men

Cook, S. H., Juster, R. P., Calebs, B. J., Heinze, J., & Miller, A. L.

Publication year

2017

Journal title

Psychoneuroendocrinology

Volume

75

Page(s)

1-4
Abstract
Abstract
Much of the extant scientific research examining hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis functioning is conducted among White heterosexuals. Very little research examines HPA-axis functioning between different minority groups. Individuals who identify as both sexual and racial minorities may experience increased stigma and discrimination that can affect HPA-axis functioning. In the current study, we examined diurnal cortisol rhythm in young White gay men (WGM) compared to young Black gay men (BGM). The sample consisted of 70 healthy gay men (mean [SD] age = 22.9 [3.2]: 68% White and 38% Black) who collected four saliva samples daily for five days. Repeated measures analysis of covariance and post-hoc tests revealed that BGM had higher cortisol levels than WGM in the evening. Secondary analyses revealed no significant group differences for the cortisol awakening response or systemic output throughout the day. However, BGM compared to WGM had a lower drop from peak (morning) to lowest (evening) cortisol concentrations. Taken together, these findings reveal a flatter diurnal cortisol rhythm among BGM compared to WGB. The functional significance of these preliminary findings must be explored further with assessment of psychosocial factors among sexual minorities at the intersection of multiple identities. In summary, we expand health disparities research aimed at delineating sexual minority and race/ethnic variation in stress physiology.

Minority males: Cultural stressors and their impact on health and well-being

Cook, S., Calebs, B., Perry, M., & Hopkins, R. In Social issues in living color: Challenges and solutions from the perspective of ethnic minority psychology.

Publication year

2017

Attachment orientation and sexual risk behaviour among young Black gay and bisexual men

Cook, S. H., Watkins, D. C., Calebs, B. J., & Wilson, P. A.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Psychology and Sexuality

Volume

7

Issue

3

Page(s)

177-196
Abstract
Abstract
This mixed methods study used an explanatory sequential design to examine the relationship between attachment and sexual behaviour among young Black gay and bisexual men (YBGBM). Cross sectional online surveys and sex diaries were completed by a sample of YBGBM in New York City (n = 153) to assess the association between adult attachment insecurity and sexual risk behaviour. The Experiences in Close Relationships Scale-Revised (ECR-R) was used to assess three types of adult attachment (i.e., secure, anxious and avoidant). Participants reported condomless sex encounters, as well as serodiscordant condomless anal sex encounters, as measures of sexual risk. Quantitative findings suggested that there were few associations between attachment type and sexual risk behaviour; only men with attachment avoidance were likely to engage in condomless sex. However, qualitative findings illuminated some of the social complexities of the association between attachment in childhood, attachment in young adulthood and intimate partnerships, which could be linked to young adult sexual risk behaviour. The study findings highlight the need for researchers to further examine the process by which individual differences in attachment orientation are related to YBGBM’s sexual behaviour.

Profiles of Resilience and Psychosocial Outcomes among Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men

Wilson, P. A., Meyer, I. H., Antebi-Gruszka, N., Boone, M. R., Cook, S. H., & Cherenack, E. M.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

American journal of community psychology

Volume

57

Issue

1

Page(s)

144-157
Abstract
Abstract
Young Black gay/bisexual men (YBGBM) are affected by contextual stressors - namely syndemic conditions and minority stress - that threaten their health and well-being. Resilience is a process through which YBGBM achieve positive psychosocial outcomes in the face of adverse conditions. Self-efficacy, hardiness and adaptive coping, and social support may be important resilience factors for YBGBM. This study explores different profiles of these resilience factors in 228 YBGBM in New York City and compares profiles on psychological distress, mental health, and other psychosocial factors. Four profiles of resilience were identified: (a) Low self-efficacy and hardiness/adaptive coping (23.5%); (b) Low peer and parental support (21.2%); (c) High peer support, low father support (34.5%); and (d) High father and mother support, self-efficacy, and hardiness/adaptive coping (20.8%). YBGBM in profile 1 scored markedly higher on distress (d =.74) and lower on mental health functioning (d =.93) compared to men in the other profiles. Results suggest that self-efficacy and hardiness/adaptive coping may play a more important role in protecting YBGBM from risks compared to social support and should be targeted in interventions. The findings show that resilience is a multidimensional construct and support the notion that there are different patterns of resilience among YBGBM.

Relationship cognitions and longitudinal trajectories of sexual risk behavior among young gay and bisexual men: The P18 cohort study

Cook, S., Halkitis, P. N., & Kapadia, F.

Publication year

2016

Journal title

Journal of Health Psychology

Contact

sc5810@nyu.edu 708 Broadway 7FL New York, NY, 10003