Supporting Parents to Affirm their Children’s Experiences of Sexual and Gender Identities

A new line of work from my lab investigates mental health disparities in sexual and gender minority youth. I served as Co-Investigator on two R01 administrative supplements to test LGBTQ+ minority stress theory as applied to youth depression. In addition, with my collaborator, Dr. John Pachankis (Susan Dwight Bliss Associate Professor of Public Health at Yale University and Director of Yale’s LGBTQ Mental Health Initiative), we conducted a complementary study at UMD (with new data collection) aimed to inform treatment needs of parents of LGBTQ+ youth. To date, our

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our work has shown that the sexual orientation disparity in internalizing psychopathology exists prior to adolescence and can potentially weaken with early assessment and intervention against social stress, specifically by targeting parental rejection and peer victimization.

Collaborators: Drs. John Packanis (Yale University), Kirsty Clark (Vanderbilt University), Daniel Klein (Stony Brook University), Thomas Olino (Temple University), Gary Diamond (Ben-Gurion University, Israel)

Relevant Publications

Pachankis, J. E., Clark, K. A., Klein, D. N., & Dougherty, L. R. (in press). Early timing and determinants of the sexual orientation disparity in internalizing psychopathology: A prospective cohort study from ages 3 to 15. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Clark, K., Dougherty, L. R., & Pachankis, J. (in press). A study of parents of sexual and gender minority children: Linking parental reactions with child mental health. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000456

Clark, K., Mennies, R., Olino, T. M., Dougherty, L. R. & Pachankis, J. E. (2020). Parent versus Child Report of Children’s Sexual Orientation: Associations with Psychiatric Morbidity in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. Annals of Epidemiology, 45, 1-4. PMID: 32439147; PMCID: PMC7245580; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2020.03.009. [PDF]