© WELLNESS IDENTITY SEXUALITY HEALTH RESEARCH TEAM

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Community. Equity. Research. Action.

We are a research lab in the Psychology and Education Department at Mount Holyoke College focused on identity and health equity as they relate to sexual and mental wellness. Our research centers on the health and wellness of marginalized communities, with a particular focus the experiences of gender and sexual minority people. We implement community-based research principles in our work, and value partnering with community organizations, health centers, and community members to promote health equity.

Corey Flanders

Corey is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology and Education Department at Mount Holyoke College. In addition to her research, she teaches courses in Social Psychology, Research Methods, and Sexual and Gender Minority Health. When not at work, she enjoys watching cheesy made-for-tv science fiction movies and attempting to keep house plants alive. Read more about her here.

Jaime Humphrey

Jaime is a senior at Mount Holyoke College studying Psychology and exploring a
fascination with Art. She is interested in counseling and public health education with an
interest in gender identity and expression. She is an FP who works nearly full time, is a
mom, and a partner in addition to focusing on her studies. She is passionate about
hiking, yoga, art, music, and animals. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dogs,
spending time with her family, cooking/eating good food, and relaxing.

Deborah Fashole-Luke

Deborah is a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in English. She is interested in intersectionality and how it affects people's experiences of the world and more specifically their mental health. In her free time Deborah loves to dance, read, and spend time talking to friends and family. She also loves to play a good game of soccer!

Kirina Gair-MacMichael

Kirina is a senior at Mount Holyoke College studying Psychology, Education, and Sociology. She is interested in social activism and advocacy, access to mental health care, and intersecting marginalized identities. She is currently working on her senior thesis, looking at access barriers to mental health care for queer youth of color from the perspective of mental health care providers. She is also passionate about photography, jazz, and playing quash. In her free time she enjoys playing boardgames by the fire, spending time with her friends and family, and watching Netflix.

Briyana Joseph

Brie is a junior at Mount Holyoke College double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. She is from Miami and enjoys taking photos and reading novels on the beach in her free time. Brie manages our Facebook, and Twitter accounts, as well as our website and blog which focus on LGBTQIA health and wellness through scopes of ability, race, and many other social constructs.

Sarah Shuler

Sarah is a sophomore at Mount Holyoke majoring in Psychology and Africana Studies. Sarah seeks to investigate the psychology behind racism and its relationship to mass incarceration in the United States today, as well as conduct research and find solutions to unique issues in the mental healthcare system faced by people of color. Outside of school, Sarah enjoys  listening to rap and jazz and reading romance novels. Sarah is an  avid practitioner of martial arts and also practices taekwondo in Amherst, MA.

THE RESEARCH

Bisexual Women's Experiences of Microaggression and Microaffirmation

Previous research conducted by our team indicates that bisexual people experience unique subtle stressors and stigma (microaggressions) and subtle supports and validations (microaffirmations) related to their sexual identity. However, we do not currently have a validated measure to investigate these occurrences. Our team has been working toward developing and validating measures of microaggression and microaffirmation for bisexual women. The first phase of this project involved a community-based, mixed-methods approach to measurement development, and we are now conducting a daily diary study to assess the frequency of these experiences as well as their relationships to mental health. 

We are about to start recruiting participants for the daily diary study. If you are interested in learning more about participation, please contact Corey at cflander@mtholyoke.edu.

 
 
 
Young Bisexual Women's Experiences of Sexual Violence

Young bisexual women experience higher rates of sexual violence in contrast to their heterosexual and lesbian peers. Our previous work in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Toronto provides evidence that this may be related to unique experiences of stigma and sexualization directed toward young bisexual women. We are currently developing a community-based mixed-methods project to further investigate these possible relationships, with the future goal of reducing these rates of sexual violence.

We are about to start recruiting individuals to serve on the advisory committee for this project. If you are interested in learning more about what being on the advisory committee would entail, please contact Corey at cflander@mtholyoke.edu.

Participate in A Study

PUBLICATIONS

If you would like a copy of any of the below publications, please contact Corey at cflander@mtholyoke.edu.

Flanders, C. E., LeBreton, M. E., Robinson, M., Bian, J., & Caravaca-Morera, J. A. (2016). Defining bisexuality: young bisexual and pansexual people’s voices. Journal of Bisexuality. Advanced online copy. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2016.1227016.

 

Flanders, C. E., Tarasoff, L. A., Legge, M., Robinson, M., & Gos, G. (2016). Positive identity experiences of young bisexual and non-monosexual people: a qualitative inquiry. Journal of Homosexuality. Advanced online copy. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2016.1236592.

Flanders, C. E., Dobinson, & C., Logie, C. (2017). Young bisexual women’s perspectives on the relationship between bisexual stigma, mental health, and sexual health: a qualitative study. Critical Public Health. 27(1), 75-85. doi: 10.1080/09581596.2016.1158786.

Flanders, C. E. (2016). Bisexuality, social identity, and well-being: an exploratory study. Sexualities, 19(5-6), 497-516. doi: 10.1177/1363460715609093.

 

Bauer, G. R., Flanders, C. E., MacLeod, M. A., & Ross, L. E. (2016). Occurrence of multiple mental health or substance use outcomes among bisexuals: a respondent-driven sampling study. BMC Public Health, 16, 497. Doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3173-z.

 

Flanders, C. E., Robinson, M., Legge, M. M., & Tarasoff, L. A. (2016). Negative identity experiences of bisexual and other non-monosexual people: a qualitative report. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, 20(2), 152-172. doi: 10.1080/19359705.2015.1108257.

 

Flanders, C. E., Gibson, M., Goldberg, A., & Ross, L. E. (2016). Postpartum depression among visible and invisible sexual minority women: a pilot study. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 19(2), 299-305. doi: 10.1007/s00737-015-0566-4.

 

Flanders, C. E., Gos, G., Dobinson, C., & Logie, C. (2015). Understanding young bisexual women’s sexual, reproductive, and mental health through syndemic theory. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 106(8), e1-e6. doi: 10.17269/CJPH.106.5100.

 

Flanders, C. E., Dobinson, C., & Logie, C. (2015). “I’m never really my full self”: Young bisexual women’s perceptions of their mental health. Journal of Bisexuality, 15(4), 454-480. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2015.1079288.

 

Flanders, C. E. (2015). Bisexual health: a daily diary analysis of stress and anxiety. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 37(6), 319-335. doi: 10.1080/01973533.2015.1079202.

 

Flanders, C. E. & Hatfield, E. (2014). Social perception of bisexuality. Psychology and Sexuality, 5(3), 232-246. doi: 10.1080/19419899.2012.749505.

 

Flanders, C. E., & Hatfield, E. (2013). Perceptions of gender and bisexuality: an exploration of the relationship between perceived masculinity, femininity, and sexual ambiguity. Journal of Bisexuality, 13(3), 374-389. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2013.813418.

 

Arakawa, D. R., Flanders, C. E., Hatfield, E., & Heck, R. (2013). Positive psychology: what impact has it had on sex research publication trends? Sexuality and Culture, 17(2), 305-320. doi: 10.1007/s12119-012-9152-3. 

 

Flanders, C. E., Arakawa, D. R., & Canua Cardozo, A. (2013). Positive implications for sexual sensation seeking: an exploratory study. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 16. Retrieved from http://www.ejhs.org/.

 

Arakawa, D. R., Flanders, C. E., & Hatfield, E. (2012). Are variations in gender equality evident in pornography? A cross-cultural study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(2), 279-285. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.006.

PAST PROJECTS

Young Queer Women's Use of the Internet and Digital Technology for Sexual Health Information Seeking

This was a qualitative, community-based research project in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Toronto and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. With the help of an advisory committee of young queer women, we conducted a series of focus groups to speak with sexual minority women aged 18-29 about their experiences with seeking sexual health information online. The research findings indicate that in our sample, many of the women used the Internet for sexual health information seeking, and most appreciated sources that included the voices of a diverse range of people, included an interactive element, was affirming of their own experiences, and of course was relevant to their own sexual health experiences. In addition to seeking information about safer sex practices and sexually transmitted infections, participants also sought out and valued information about social aspects of sexual health, such as negotiating sexual encounters, health relationships, and community connections. 

Publications based on this project are forthcoming. 

Creating Trans and Nonbinary Inclusive Sexual Health Education Guidelines

This was a qualitative, community-based research project in collaboration with Planned Parenthood Toronto and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. Based on a survey conducted by Planned Parenthood Toronto, this project was created to address the high level of unmet need reported by trans and nonbinary youth related to sexual health education and service provision. An advisory committee of trans and nonbinary youth aged 18-29 assisted in the development, analysis, and dissemination of this project. A series of focus groups with trans and nonbinary youth were conducted to understand what inclusive sexual health education and service provision should look like, and individual interviews were held with sexual health service providers and educators to understand more about barriers to providing inclusive care. A first draft of the guidelines document was developed based on these data, which was reviewed by the advisory committee. The advisory committee then facilitated a town hall meeting, where trans and nonbinary youth, service providers, educators, and other community members engaged in critical discussion of the draft. The guidelines were revised, and a second round of focus groups was held to further evaluate the document. The feedback from these focus groups was incorporated into the guidelines, which was reviewed one more time at a community launch event. Feedback from community in attendance at the event was incorporated into the document. 

The final copy of the guidelines document can be found here

Creating Measures of Bisexual Women's Microaggression and Microaffirmation Experiences

This was a qualitative, community-based project in partnership with Margaret Robinson at the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. The goal of this project was to develop validated measures of microaggressions and microaffirmations, or the subtle stressors and social supports, bisexual women experience. An advisory committee of bisexual women helped with the direction of the study and development of the measures. We held two focus group sessions to collect qualitative descriptions of the microaggressions and microaffirmations bisexual women experience. Based on those data, we developed an initial survey of potential items that was then vetted by our advisory committee. We next launched an online survey to conduct the first statistical validation of the measures. Based on the responses, we revised the measures to a final version, and launched a second online survey to confirm the measures and understand how they related to reports of mental and sexual health. 

The published version of these measures is forthcoming. 

Understanding Young Bisexual Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health

This was a qualitative, community-based project in partnership with Planned Parenthood Toronto and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. This project was developed to understand how young bisexual women, aged 16-29, perceived their own sexual and reproductive health, including the barriers and facilitators of maintaining positive sexual health. Findings from this study indicate that young bisexual women perceive stigma as a major barrier to maintaining positive sexual health, both in limited access to informed service providers and relevant sexual health information, as well as in the form of violence. These experiences affected both their sexual and mental health. 

Publications from this project include the following:

Flanders, C. E., Dobinson, C., & Logie, C. (2015). “I’m never really my full self”: Young bisexual women’s perceptions of their mental health. Journal of Bisexuality, 15(4), 454-480. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2015.1079288.

Flanders, C. E., Gos, G., Dobinson, C., & Logie, C. (2015). Understanding young bisexual women’s sexual, reproductive, and mental health through syndemic theory. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 106(8), e1-e6. doi: 10.17269/CJPH.106.5100.

Flanders, C. E., Dobinson, & C., Logie, C. (2017). Young bisexual women’s perspectives on the relationship between bisexual stigma, mental health, and sexual health: a qualitative study. Critical Public Health. 27(1), 75-85. doi: 10.1080/09581596.2016.1158786.

Experiencing Bisexual Identity: Identity Threat and Affirmation

This was a mixed-methods daily diary study investigating how positive and negative experiences related to bisexual identity related to daily stress and anxiety among young bisexual people. The study was a 28-daily diary study in which participants described any positive or negative experiences they had related to their sexual identity, and also reported how stressed and anxious they were that day. The findings from this study indicate that negative experiences were associated with elevated stress, and positive experiences were associated with decreased stress and anxiety. Participants' descriptions of their negative and positive identity experiences were analyzed in a social ecological framework, as we identified that these events occured at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, and societal level.

Publications from this project include the following: 

Flanders, C. E. (2015). Bisexual health: a daily diary analysis of stress and anxiety. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 37(6), 319-335. doi: 10.1080/01973533.2015.1079202.

Flanders, C. E., Robinson, M., Legge, M. M., & Tarasoff, L. A. (2016). Negative identity experiences of bisexual and other non-monosexual people: a qualitative report. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, 20(2), 152-172. doi: 10.1080/19359705.2015.1108257.

Flanders, C. E., Tarasoff, L. A., Legge, M., Robinson, M., & Gos, G. (2016). Positive identity experiences of young bisexual and non-monosexual people: a qualitative inquiry. Journal of Homosexuality. Advanced online copy. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2016.1236592.

CONTACT US

Tel: 413-538-2052

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50 College St.

Reese Psychology Building

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA 01075

cflander@mtholyoke.edu