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    Initial Findings from the Maryland Trans Survey
    (Trans Maryland, 2024-03) Pease, M Valle; Taylor, Son; Blinder, Lee; Clements, Zakary A.; Galupo, M. Paz
    The Maryland Trans Survey is a community-based research project conducted by Trans Maryland and the Queer/Trans Collective for Research on Equity and Wellness examining experiences of trans people in the State of Maryland in areas such as health and healthcare, employment and economic wellbeing, and legal and policy experiences. To date, it is the largest survey of trans people in the State, with 750 trans people representing all 23 counties in Maryland and Baltimore City. Data were collected from May to December 2023 through in-person and online community outreach and the project was approved by the Towson University Institutional Review Board. This brief contains preliminary descriptive results from the project for advocates, policymakers, and community-serving entities to better understand and support the current needs of trans people in Maryland.
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    Family Rejection and LGBTQ+ Asian Americans’ Psychological Distress and Disordered Eating: The Role of Conflicts in Allegiances and Familial Shame
    (2024) Pease, M V.; Le, Thomas P.; Ahn, Lydia HaRim
    LGBTQ+ Asian Americans experience unique psychological health concerns at the intersection of multiple forms of marginalization. White supremacist, cisheteronormative, and colonial ideals and their structural and interpersonal manifestations may encourage family rejection of LGBTQ+ identities within Asian American family units. Family shame, conflicts in allegiances, and internalized anti-LGBTQ+ stigma were hypothesized as mediators in the association between family rejection and psychological distress and disordered eating. The current study examined family rejection and its impacts on psychological distress and disordered eating in a sample of LGBTQ+ Asian American adults (N = 155; MAge = 24.26; 30.3% Gender Diverse) using a cross-sectional survey design and path analysis. There was a significant serial mediation such that family rejection was positively associated with conflicts in allegiances, which was positively associated with familial shame, which was positively associated with psychological distress (B = .12, p = .01). The same serial mediation was nonsignificant for disordered eating (B = .04, p = .26). Results indicate the importance of considering conflicts in allegiances, family shame, and the interpersonal dynamics of LGBTQ+ Asian Americans in understanding experiences of psychological distress and disordered eating. Implications are drawn for further research, clinical work, and broader efforts addressing the larger sociocultural environment that encourages familial rejection of LGBTQ+ identity.
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    Reactive and Proactive Adaptation of Cognitive and Motor Neural Signals during Performance of a Stop-Change Task
    (MDPI, 2021-05-11) Brockett, Adam T.; Roesch, Matthew R.
    The ability to inhibit or suppress unwanted or inappropriate actions, is an essential component of executive function and cognitive health. The immense selective pressure placed on maintaining inhibitory control processes is exemplified by the relatively small number of instances in which these systems completely fail in the average person’s daily life. Although mistakes and errors do inevitably occur, inhibitory control systems not only ensure that this number is low, but have also adapted behavioral strategies to minimize future failures. The ability of our brains to adapt our behavior and appropriately engage proper motor responses is traditionally depicted as the primary domain of frontal brain areas, despite evidence to the fact that numerous other brain areas contribute. Using the stop-signal task as a common ground for comparison, we review a large body of literature investigating inhibitory control processes across frontal, temporal, and midbrain structures, focusing on our recent work in rodents, in an effort to understand how the brain biases action selection and adapts to the experience of conflict.
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    Gendered racial microaggressions and emerging adult Black women's social and general anxiety: Distress intolerance and stress as mediators
    (Wiley, 2022-11-22) Burke, Lindsey A.; Chijioke, Sandra; Le, Thomas P.
    There is robust evidence that gendered racial microaggressions affect Black women's mental health. However, few studies have examined how this form of discrimination affects Black women's social anxiety in addition to their general anxiety, as well as the underlying mechanisms related to gendered racial microaggressions and anxiety. Objective The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between gendered racial microaggressions stress (GRMS) and gendered racial microaggressions frequency (GRMF), and Black women's social anxiety and general anxiety symptoms. We also examined the mediating roles of distress intolerance and stress in these associations. Method One hundred and sixty-three Black women, between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, completed a cross-sectional survey. Regression analyses were used to examine the associations between gendered racial microaggressions and social anxiety and general anxiety, and mediation analyses examined the indirect effect of gendered racial microaggressions on the outcome variables through distress intolerance and stress. Results GRMS was associated with greater social and general anxiety through the mechanisms of distress intolerance and stress. GRMF was associated with reduced social anxiety and was not associated with general anxiety. Conclusions Intervention efforts should be aimed to prevent the experience of gendered racial microaggressions to prevent subsequent stress and mental health outcomes for Black women.
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    The neural distribution of the avian homologue of oxytocin, mesotocin, in two songbird species, the zebra finch and the canary: A potential role in song perception and production
    (Wiley, 2022-05-22) Haakenson, Chelsea M.; Balthazart, Jacques; Madison, Farrah N.; Ball, Gregory F.
    The avian homologue of oxytocin (OT), formerly called mesotocin, influences social behaviors in songbirds and potentially song production. We sought to characterize the distribution of OT peptide in the brain of two songbird species: canaries (Serinus canaria) and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). To visualize OT, we performed immunocytochemistry using an antibody previously shown to identify OT in avian species. In both canaries and zebra finches, dense OT-ir perikarya were located in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN), preoptic area (POA), supraoptic nucleus (SON), and medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNSTm). We also observed morphologically distinct OT-ir cells scattered throughout the mesopallium. OT-ir fibers were observed in the PVN, ventral medial hypothalamus (VMH), periaqueductal gray (PAG), intercollicular nucleus (ICo), and ventral tegmental area (VTA). We also observed punctate OT-ir fibers in the song control nucleus HVC. In both male and female canaries, OT-ir fibers were present in the lateral septum (LS), but innervation was greater in males. We did not observe this sex difference in zebra finches. Much of the OT staining observed is consistent with general distributions within the vertebrate hypothalamus, indicating a possible conserved function. However, some extra-hypothalamic distributions, such as perikarya in the mesopallium, may be specific to songbirds and play a role in song perception and production. The presence of OT-ir fibers in HVC and song control nuclei projecting dopaminergic regions provides anatomical evidence in support of the idea that OT can influence singing behavior—either directly via HVC or indirectly via the PAG, VTA, or POA.
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    A meta-analysis of the relation between hippocampal volume and memory ability in typically developing children and adolescents
    (Wiley, 2022-03-17) Botdorf, Morgan; Canada, Kelsey L.; Riggins, Tracy
    Memory is supported by a network of brain regions, with the hippocampus serving a critical role in this cognitive process. Previous meta-analyses on the association between hippocampal structure and memory have largely focused on adults. Multiple studies have since suggested that hippocampal volume is related to memory performance in children and adolescents; however, the strength and direction of this relation varies across reports, and thus, remains unclear. To further understand this brain–behavior relation, we conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the association between hippocampal volume (assessed as total volume) and memory during typical development. Across 25 studies and 61 memory outcomes with 1357 participants, results showed a small, but significant, positive association between total hippocampal volume and memory performance. Estimates of the variability across studies in the relation between total volume and memory were not explained by differences in memory task type (delayed vs. immediate; relational vs. nonrelational), participant age range, or the method of normalization of hippocampal volumes. Overall, findings suggest that larger total hippocampal volume relates to better memory performance in children and adolescents and that this relation is similar across the memory types and age ranges assessed. To facilitate enhanced generalization across studies in the future, we discuss considerations for the field moving forward.
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    Patient and provider perceptions of a peer-delivered intervention (‘Khanya’) to improve anti-retroviral adherence and substance use in South Africa: a mixed methods analysis
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-08-26) Rose, Alexandra L.; Belus, Jennifer M.; Hines, Abigail C.; Barrie, Issmatu; Regenauer, Kristen S.; Andersen, Lena S.; Joska, John A.; Ciya, Nonceba; Ndamase, Sibabalwe; Myers, Bronwyn; Safren, Steven A.; Magidson, Jessica F.
    Background. Despite a high prevalence of problematic substance use among people living with HIV in South Africa, there remains limited access to substance use services within the HIV care system. To address this gap, our team previously developed and adapted a six-session, peer-delivered problem-solving and behavioral activation-based intervention (Khanya) to improve HIV medication adherence and reduce substance use in Cape Town. This study evaluated patient and provider perspectives on the intervention to inform implementation and future adaptation. Methods. Following intervention completion, we conducted semi-structured individual interviews with patients (n = 23) and providers (n = 9) to understand perspectives on the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of Khanya and its implementation by a peer. Patients also quantitatively ranked the usefulness of individual intervention components (problem solving for medication adherence ‘Life-Steps’, behavioral activation, mindfulness training, and relapse prevention) at post-treatment and six months follow-up, which we triangulated with qualitative feedback to examine convergence and divergence across methods. Results. Patients and providers reported high overall acceptability, feasibility, and appropriateness of Khanya, although there were several feasibility challenges. Mindfulness and Life-Steps were identified as particularly acceptable, feasible, and appropriate components by patients across methods, whereas relapse prevention strategies were less salient. Behavioral activation results were less consistent across methods. Conclusions. Findings underscore the importance of examining patients’ perspectives on specific intervention components within intervention packages. While mindfulness training and peer delivery models were positively perceived by consumers, they are rarely used within taskshared behavioral interventions in low- and middle-income countries.
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    Expanding the I-O psychology mindset to organizational success
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-09-09) Schneider, Benjamin; Pulakos, Elaine D.
    The paper proposes that industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology will benefit greatly from expanding our research focus from predominantly individual differences to studying organizational differences. We argue here that an increased organizational frame of reference on variables of interest to I-O psychology (e.g., selection, job design, performance management (PM), work motivation) is important because it will enhance our understanding of organizational behavior and make I-O research more effective in practice. After noting some organizational-level research already being done, several examples are provided for how an organizational mindset and methods can provide new insights into traditional areas of I-O effort. Also discussed is how methodological issues that may have constrained the study of organizational differences in the past and the potential new issues such research may yield can be addressed. We conclude that the future maintenance and enhancement of the I-O psychology brand as a science–practice profession requires enhanced attention to the organization level of analysis as our frame of reference for research.
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    Why weight? Analytic approaches for large-scale population neuroscience data
    (Elsevier, 2023-01-06) Gard, Arianna M.; Hyde, Luke W.; Heeringa, Steven G.; West, Brady T.; Mitchell, Colter
    Population-based neuroimaging studies that feature complex sampling designs enable researchers to generalize their results more widely. However, several theoretical and analytical questions pose challenges to researchers interested in these data. The following is a resource for researchers interested in using population-based neuroimaging data. We provide an overview of sampling designs and describe the differences between traditional model-based analyses and survey-oriented design-based analyses. To elucidate key concepts, we leverage data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development℠ Study (ABCD Study®), a population-based sample of 11,878 9–10-year-olds in the United States. Analyses revealed modest sociodemographic discrepancies between the target population of 9–10-year-olds in the U.S. and both the recruited ABCD sample and the analytic sample with usable structural and functional imaging data. In evaluating the associations between socioeconomic resources (i.e., constructs that are tightly linked to recruitment biases) and several metrics of brain development, we show that model-based approaches over-estimated the associations of household income and under-estimated the associations of caregiver education with total cortical volume and surface area. Comparable results were found in models predicting neural function during two fMRI task paradigms. We conclude with recommendations for ABCD Study® users and users of population-based neuroimaging cohorts more broadly.
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    The giant escape neurons of crayfish: Past discoveries and present opportunities
    (Frontiers, 2022-12-20) Herberholz, Jens
    Crayfish are equipped with two prominent neural circuits that control rapid, stereotyped escape behaviors. Central to these circuits are bilateral pairs of giant neurons that transverse the nervous system and generate escape tail-flips in opposite directions away from threatening stimuli.
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    Harm reduction behaviors are associated with carrying naloxone among patients on methadone treatment
    (Springer Nature, 2023-02-14) Kozak, Zofia; Ciccarone, Daniel; Thrul, Johannes; Cole, Thomas O.; Pappas, Alexander L.; Greenblatt, Aaron D.; Welsh, Christopher; Yoon, Mark; Gann, Donald Jr.; Artigiani, E. Erin; Wish, Eric D.; Belcher, Annabelle M.
    Despite the widespread availability of naloxone, US opioid overdose rates continue to rise. The “Cascade of Care” (CoC) is a public health approach that identifies steps in achieving specific outcomes and has been used to identify gaps in naloxone carriage among individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). We sought to apply this framework to a treatment-seeking population with OUD that may be more inclined to engage in harm reduction behaviors. Patients were recruited from an urban methadone program to complete a survey. We assessed naloxone familiarity, availability, obtainability, training, and possession, as well as naloxone carriage rates, demographics, and harm reduction behaviors. A multivariable logistic regression examined associations between naloxone carriage and individual-level factors. Participants (n = 97) were majority male (59%), with a mean age of 48 (SD = 12), 27% had college education or higher, 64% indicated injection drug use, and 84% reported past naloxone training. All participants endorsed familiarity with naloxone, but only 42% regularly carried naloxone. The following variables were associated with carrying naloxone: White race (aOR = 2.94, 95% CI 1.02–8.52), college education (aOR = 8.11, 95% CI 1.76–37.47), and total number of self-reported harm reduction behaviors (aOR = 1.45, 95% CI 1.00–2.11). We found low rates of naloxone carriage among methadone-treated patients. Methadone programs provide opportunities for naloxone interventions and should target racial/ethnic minorities and individuals with lower education. The spectrum of harm reduction behaviors should be encouraged among these populations to enhance naloxone carriage.
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    Report on the Organizational Climates of Congress
    (2019-10-24) Hanges, Paul J; Lee, Frances; Miler, Kristina; Wessel, Jennifer
    The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of Congress by attending to how the people who serve in the institution perceive Congress’ procedures, norms and expectations for their behavior. What are the “unwritten rules” that members and staff come to understand as they experience the institution? What types of behaviors are rewarded and encouraged inside Congress? How do these shared organizational perceptions and practices, in turn, shape how members of Congress work with other members, both within and between the two major parties? We took an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the climate and culture of Congress. We conducted 60 interviews with either former Members of Congress or House staff members. We found that the reward structure inside congressional parties is oriented around relationships. Results: The Structure of Intraparty Rewards Members advance in influence via their success in cultivating the esteem of their colleagues. This entails developing a reputation for expertise and integrity. But it also means building a social network by doing favors for others, especially fundraising. Members are seen as not considerate of others or unwilling to be “team players” have difficulty rising in influence. Individual members generally advance their standing in the party by building consensus rather than winning conflicts. But coalitions of members can gain greater weight within their party by being seen as winning conflicts. The central importance of relationships in Congress is consistent with patterns prevailing in fluid organizations more generally. The Climate of Intraparty Conflict and Cooperation Nearly all respondents described themselves as feeling free to speak up when they disagreed with their party leaders, though certain norms govern and restrain such behavior. In particular, disagreements with leaders should be raised in private or in party caucus but not in public or the press, though there was also recognition that not all members adhered to this norm. Similarly, verbal disagreement with party leaders is accepted, but active resistance of the party is frowned upon and subject to sanction. Tolerance of intraparty dissent is reasonably high, but members do at times experience pressure to go along with leaders, particularly on highly salient issues central to the party’s program. The Climate of Interparty Conflict and Cooperation Our findings paint a somewhat mixed picture of the state of cooperation across the aisle in Congress, where elements of collaborative and dominating culture are evident. Our interviews also reveal that on issues that are less visible and less important to the parties, working across the aisle to achieve “win-win” outcomes is considered possible and common even in today’s Congress. Many legislators and staff members are interested in working with colleagues across the aisle and have experience doing so. Moreover, clear paths lead to interpersonal cooperation, namely serving together on a committee, personal friendships, and common district interests.
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    Why We Follow Narcissistic Leaders
    (Harvard Business Review, 2023-01-30) Gruda, Dritjon; Hanges, Paul J.
    A recent study aimed to understand narcissistic leaders and who is most likely to follow them. The results revealed a few patterns. If you are someone who is always looking out for others, empathizes with others, and seeks harmony and consensus in your team (known as agreeable followers), you are more likely to be susceptible to following a narcissistic leader. If you are someone who gets anxious and worried easily or likes to get started on work projects early on to prevent anxiety as a deadline draws closer (known as neurotic followers), you probably prefer engaging with narcissistic leaders.
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    fMRI Meta-Analysis of Social Interaction via Joint Attention Paradigms
    (2022-04-27) Edakoth, Esha; Glaros, Sophia; Harris, Riley; McGovern, Chelsea; Merchant, Junaid S; Tchangalova, Nedelina; Redcay, Elizabeth
    Joint Attention (JA) is the sharing of attention on a common object or event by two or more people. JA is an important precursor to the development of social cognitive skills needed for more sophisticated forms of social interaction. The brain regions involved in JA during social interactive contexts are not well known because original studies of JA used tasks that are not interactive, such as engaging with the eye gaze of a static image outside of a social interactive context. Recent studies have used fMRI to understand the different brain regions associated with JA in interactive contexts, but there are inconsistent findings across studies. Therefore, this study uses meta-analytic methods to aggregate findings across JA studies using social interactive approaches to identify brain regions that are commonly activated.
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    “It’s all about asking from those who have walked the path”: Patient and stakeholder perspectives on how peers may shift substance use stigma in HIV care in South Africa
    (Springer Nature, 2022-09-21) Magidson, Jessica F.; Rose, Alexandra L.; Regenauer, Kristen S.; Brooke-Sumner, Carrie; Anvari, Morgan S.; Jack, Helen E.; Johnson, Kim; Belus, Jennifer M.; Joska, John; Bassett, Ingrid V.; Sibeko, Goodman; Myers, Bronwyn
    South Africa has the highest number of people with HIV (PWH) globally and a significant burden of co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD). Health care worker (HCW) stigma towards SUD is a key barrier to HIV care engagement among PWH with SUD. Support from peers—individuals with lived experience of SUD—may be a promising solution for addressing SUD stigma, while also improving engagement in HIV care. We evaluated the perceived acceptability of integrating a peer role into community-based HIV care teams as a strategy to address SUD stigma at multiple levels and improve patient engagement in HIV care. Patients and stakeholders (N = 40) were recruited from publicly-funded HIV and SUD organizations in Cape Town, South Africa. We conducted a quantitative assessment of stigma among stakeholders using an adapted Social Distance Scale (SDS) and patient perceptions of working with a peer, as well as semi-structured interviews focused on experiences of SUD stigma, acceptability of a peer model integrated into community-based HIV care, and potential peer roles. On the SDS, 75% of stakeholders had high stigma towards a patient with SUD, yet 90% had low stigma when in recovery for at least 2 years. All patients endorsed feeling comfortable talking to someone in recovery and wanting them on their HIV care team. Three main themes emerged from the qualitative data: (1) patient-reported experiences of enacted SUD and HIV stigmas were common and impacted HIV care engagement; (2) both patients and stakeholders considered a peer model highly acceptable for integration into HIV care to support engagement and address SUD stigma; and (3) patients and stakeholders identified both individual-level and systems-level roles for peers, how peers could work alongside other providers to improve patient care, and key characteristics that peers would need to be successful in these roles. Findings from this formative work point to the promise of a peer model for reducing SUD stigma among patients and HCWs within community-based HIV care teams in SA.
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    Young Adolescents' Early Relationship Satisfaction and Motivations for Dating: Links to Attachment to Parents
    (2022-04) Trujillo, Amanda; Fitter, Megan; Straske, Martha D.; Knoll, Sarah; Deol, Gunleen; Cassidy, Jude
    BACKGROUND: Attachment theory claims that the quality of early attachment relationships influences experiences in later relationships. Indeed, research indicates that positive relationships with parents relate to positive romantic relationship outcomes in mid-adolescence (Roisman et al., 2005), late adolescence (Auslander et al., 2009), and adulthood (Dinero et al., 2008). Further, early insecurity with parents predicts later insecurity with romantic partners (Furman & Collibee, 2018). However, no research has examined how insecurity with parents relates to young adolescents’ romantic relationship satisfaction or to motivations for entering relationships. Early negative dating experiences could contribute to a cascade leading to negative experiences in later relationships, making it essential to examine origins of adolescents’ early dating experiences. STUDY AIMS: We aimed to examine the role of young adolescents’ attachment insecurity with parents in predicting adolescents’ relationship satisfaction and motivations for dating by testing two hypotheses: 1) Attachment avoidance (discomfort with closeness) with mothers and fathers will relate to adolescents’ lower satisfaction in romantic relationships; 2) Attachment avoidance with mothers and fathers will relate to adolescents being motivated to date for external reasons (e.g., “because my friends told me I should date them”) as opposed to internal reasons (e.g., “because I liked spending time with them”). We also explored the role of attachment anxiety (fear of abandonment); however, we had no hypotheses due to the low prevalence of anxiety in previous research with adolescents (Hünefeldt et al., 2013) and in the present sample. METHOD: 8th graders (N = 109, Mage = 13.48) rated their attachment avoidance and anxiety with their mothers and fathers (Relationship Structures Questionnaire; ECR-RS; Fraley et al., 2011) on a 7-pt scale. Adolescents also rated how happy they were in their “most serious relationship” on a 5-pt scale and rated different motivations for entering this relationship on a 7-pt scale (Early Adolescent Romantic Relationships Questionnaire; EARQ; Fitter, 2020). RESULTS: Ordinal logistic and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted in R (R Core Team, 2013). Avoidance with mothers and with fathers (marginally) related to lower odds of adolescents being happy in their relationships (mothers, OR = 0.75, 95% CI [0.57, 0.98], p = .03, fathers, OR = 0.81, 95% CI [0.63, 1.03], p = .09). Avoidance with mothers and with fathers (marginally) related to greater endorsement of deciding to date someone because “my friends told me I should date them” (mothers, ß = 0.25, 95% CI [0.05, 0.44], p = 0.01, fathers, ß = 0.19, 95% CI [-0.01, .040], p = 0.06) and exploratory analyses demonstrated a similar pattern for attachment anxiety (mothers, ß = 0.17, 95% CI [-0.03, 0.37], p = 0.096, fathers, ß = 0.26, 95% CI [0.06, 0.46], p =0.01). DISCUSSION: Results indicate that insecurity with parents relates to young adolescents’ lower romantic relationship satisfaction and greater endorsement of peer-pressure motivating their dating choices. Discussion focuses on possible cascading effects of negative parent-adolescent relationships and the role of dating motivations and poor partner selection in this cascade.
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    The Link Between Peer Acceptance and Loneliness in Adolescence
    (2022-04) Godin, Shira; Kim, Hannah; McCormick, Katherine; Trujillo, Amanda; Fitter, Megan; Awao, Sayaka; Cassidy, Jude
    Research supports that greater peer acceptance in adolescence relates to lower reports of loneliness (Woodhouse et al., 2011). Secure attachment can buffer against adolescent loneliness (Bernardon et al., 2011), and research supports a negative relation between attachment security and loneliness in adolescence (Al-Yagon et al., 2016). The current study examined the link between peer acceptance and loneliness during adolescence and examined attachment style dimensions as moderators. We hypothesized that low peer acceptance would predict greater loneliness, and that low attachment anxiety (fear of rejection and abandonment) and avoidance (fear of closeness and depending on others) would both buffer against this link. Participants (N = 2100) were 11th grade students (61.2% female, 65.1% Caucasian, 15.3% African American, 15% Asian, 4.5% Hispanic). The students completed the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (Brennan et al., 1998), the Adolescence Loneliness Scale (Cassidy & Woodhouse, 1997), and the Peer Acceptance Assessment (Asher & Dodge, 1986). There was a negative effect of peer acceptance on loneliness (β = -0.257, p < .001), such that when peer acceptance increased, feelings of loneliness decreased. There was no significant interaction between attachment anxiety (β = 0.007, p = .712) or avoidance (β = -0.006, p = .772) and peer acceptance in predicting loneliness. Although our results support the role of peer acceptance in predicting loneliness, our analyses did not support the moderating role of attachment. These findings emphasize the importance of promoting prosocial behaviors that facilitate peer acceptance to minimize adolescents’ loneliness.
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    Minority stressors and their associations with severe psychological distress among gender-diverse people
    (American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2022) Pease, M; Williams, Natasha; Iwamoto, Derek; Salerno, John
    People whose gender does not align with assigned sex often experience negative mental health outcomes related to cisnormative societal expectations and oppression, including familial rejection, threat of harm, and identity invalidation (e.g., misgendering). This study merged two cross-sectional data sets of trans and gender-diverse people (N = 363; Mage = 22.02) investigating how various types of distal minority stress experiences impact psychological distress. We tested the associations between three minority stressors (i.e., family rejection, threat of harm, and identity invalidation) and psychological distress using unadjusted and adjusted regression models, including gender-stratified models. In the overall unadjusted model, all three stressors were significantly, positively associated with psychological distress, with identity invalidation having the highest standardized β value. In the adjusted overall model, only identity invalidation was significantly associated with distress. Results varied in gender-stratified models. Additionally, participants who experienced any of the three stressors had predicted mean distress scores at or above the cutoff for severe psychological distress, while those who did not fell below that cutoff. Results highlight the differential impact of minority stress experiences on gender-diverse young adults and provide directions for clinical competency, interventions, and future research toward understanding mental health disparities for trans people.
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    Minority Stress, Pandemic Stress, and Mental Health among Gender Diverse Young Adults: Gender Dysphoria and Emotion Dysregulation as Mediators
    (Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 2022) Pease, M; Le, Thomas; Iwamoto, Derek
    Gender diverse people in the United States are uniquely vulnerable to deleterious health outcomes because of long-enshrined systems of oppression and marginalization in American society. Trans young adults are especially vulnerable to these deleterious outcomes owing to their unique position in the life course. However, more research is needed on the mechanisms through which this marginalization contributes to mental health disparities in trans populations. Using a minority stress framework and online cross-sectional survey design, the current study examines potential mediators of the relationship between transgender identity-related distal stress and psychological distress from late May to early July 2020 in a sample of transgender young adults (N = 239; ages 18–29). More than half the sample scored above the K6 cutoff for severe psychological distress. Distal stress had a significant direct (β = .17, SE = .04, t = 2.76, p = .006) and indirect effect on psychological distress. Distal stress was indirectly associated with psychological distress through gender dysphoria (β = .04; 95% CI [.001, .10]) and emotion dysregulation (β = .16; 95% CI [.09, .23]). COVID-19 pandemic stressors were also positively associated with psychological distress (β = .36, SE = .12, t = 5.95, p < .001). Results highlight the significant mental health burden facing the trans community especially in the COVID-19 context, support a conceptualization of gender dysphoria as connected to experiences of oppression, and affirm the relevance of emotion dysregulation within minority stress frameworks. Mental health resources cognizant of the specific challenges experienced by trans young adults as well as policy changes that seek to address underlying structural transphobia in American culture and institutions are urgently needed.