Student Research Grants
The Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants are awarded annually to up to six emerging sexology scholars: three at Indiana University, and three at accredited research universities nationwide. Through the Student Research Grants, the Institute seeks to fund significant and innovative research that deals with human sexuality, from a wide array of disciplines and perspectives.
The 2013 grant awardees are:
Nadav Antebi, Columbia University, Department of Sociomedical Sciences
A growing line of research concerning the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) populations has, thus far, largely focused on the negative aspects of their lives, while neglecting their possible protective, positive, and unique qualities compared to heterosexuals. This deficit-based focus fails to explain the many cases of LGBQ individuals demonstrating resilience and psychological growth despite and as a result of their unique experiences of stigmatization and marginalization. In order to fully unpack the impact of stigma on the health of LGBQ populations, a more holistic perspective is needed – one that includes both negative and positive consequences of stigma-related experiences. Hence, it is critical to further explore the potential development of positive attributes and psychological growth resulting from their negative stigma-related experiences.
Nadav's study aims to examine possible connections between stigmatized sexual orientation, positive psychological attributes (i.e. character strengths) and stress-related growth. Exploring the strengths of LGBQ individuals may inform future strength-based interventions designed to reduce the elevated stress and disease burden among LGBQ populations, and thereby make them more resilient as well as more adaptive to an ever-threatening environment.
Leslie Doll, Penn State University, Department of Anthropology
Species differ in their life history strategies. Over all, humans are slow life history strategists, having longer generation times and producing fewer offspring, but individual variation in life history exists, with faster strategy males in particular characterized by riskier, more promiscuous mating. To date, no underlying neurophysiological mechanisms have been proposed for these effects, although recent neurobiological work has suggested that male sensation-seeking behavior peaks after puberty and declines in early adulthood.
Leslie's project will investigate whether faster strategy males enter puberty earlier, creating a perilous overlap between the peak in sensation-seeking behavior and high levels of impulsivity. This overlap may alter neurodevelopment by creating stronger dopaminergic connections in reward centers of the brain that later prefrontal activity may be less effective at inhibiting.
Amy Harris, Indiana University, Department of Anthropology
Intolerable side effects are among the primary reasons women give for discontinuing oral contraceptives (OC). Discontinuation places women at high risk for unplanned pregnancies. Not only can unplanned pregnancies force women to alter life plans, they are often also associated with higher maternal and fetal/infant morbidities. Two major hypotheses have been put forth in the literature. One holds that side effects are primarily the manifestation of the negative expectations that women have regarding OCs. The other proposes that variation in endogenous estrogen concentrations is related to differential experiences of OC side effects. These hypotheses have not been tested in a comparative longitudinal study with appropriate control groups.
Amy's project addresses this gap in current understanding of OC side effects by investigating whether variation in OC users’ unwanted side effects is associated with baseline endogenous estrogen concentrations and/or their expectations of negative experiences. Ideally, this study and future work in this vein will aid in better clinical counselling of women who desire a highly effective form of contraception that does not incur unwanted side effects.
Randolph Hubach, Indiana University, School of Public Health- Bloomington, Department of Applied Health Science
Randolph is a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Health Science and also Project Coordinator for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. His research project, "Rural HIV-Positive MSM: Coping Strategies and Behavior," seeks to explore the mental, physical, and sexual health of HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in rural communities.
Using a grounded theory design, Randolph will complete in-depth interviews with participants in order to illuminate and to achieve a better understanding of the psychosocial dynamics of sexual-partner seeking, relationship building, and sexual behavior among rural HIV-positive MSM.
Congratulations to all our award winners!
For more information on these students, their research projects, and the Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants, please visit the Kinsey Institute website.