Jessica N. Fish

Jessica N. Fish
University of Maryland · Family Science

PhD

About

113
Publications
13,213
Reads
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2,954
Citations
Citations since 2017
101 Research Items
2905 Citations
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Introduction
I am a human development and family science scholar whose research focuses on the health and well-being of LGBTQ people and their families. My overarching goal is to identify modifiable factors that contribute to LGBTQ-related health disparities in order to inform developmentally-sensitive policies, programs, and prevention strategies that promote the health of LGBTQ people across the life course.
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
University of Maryland, College Park
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2015 - July 2018
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2014 - August 2015
The University of Arizona
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
August 2011 - August 2014
Florida State University
Field of study
  • Family Relations
August 2008 - December 2010
Purdue University Northwest
Field of study
  • Couple and Family Therapy
August 2004 - May 2008
Central Michigan University
Field of study
  • Family Studies & Psychology

Publications

Publications (113)
Article
Background and aims: Although sexual orientation-related alcohol use disparities are well established, researchers have not identified whether disparities are diminishing as societal attitudes towards lesbian/gay and bisexual (LGB) people become more accepting. We examined changes in four alcohol-related disparities between heterosexual and LGB yo...
Article
The developmental timing of suicide-related disparities between heterosexuals and sexual minorities (i.e., lesbian/gay and bisexual (LGB) people) is an understudied area that has critical prevention implications. In addition to developmentally situated experiences that shape risk for suicidality in the general population, sexual minorities also exp...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess sexual orientation differences in high-intensity binge drinking using nationally representative data. Methods: Data were from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III (N = 36,309), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults collected in 2012-2013. Sex-stratified...
Article
Full-text available
LGBTQ youth are at greater risk for compromised health, yet large-scale health promotion programs for LGBTQ young people have been slow to develop. LGBTQ community-based organizations—which provide LGBTQ-focused support and services—have existed for decades, but have not been a focus of the LGBTQ youth health literature. The current study used a co...
Article
Purpose LGBTQ youth are a population who experience unique stressors. This study investigated their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic via Q Chat Space—a national online chat-based support program. Methods Transcript data from 31 synchronous, text-based chats collected during the onset of state-based “social distancing” ordinances in Spring 20...
Article
Family acceptance is a crucial component of healthy development during adolescence, especially for sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) who often fear rejection from family members. Studies focused on SGMY family environments often utilize broad measures that fail to capture SGMY-specific aspects of family acceptance and rejection. Less research...
Article
LGBTQ youth often experience unsafe school climates and are at greater risk for compromised mental health relative to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. The psychological mediation model posits that these health inequities are produced by minority stress, which operates through several key mechanisms: rumination, emotion regulation, and coping...
Article
Introduction Mental and behavioral health professional organizations use their governing documents to set expectations of provider competence in working with LGBTQ + clients. Method The codes of ethics and training program accreditation guidelines of nine mental and behavioral health disciplines (n = 16) were analyzed using template analysis. Res...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the association between state-level marijuana policies and marijuana use among sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents. Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted using a nonprobability sample, the 2017 LGBTQ National Teen Survey, based on 10,027 youth who reported their marijuana use behavior...
Article
In this essay, we explore diversity in sexual and gender identities, with a focus on implications of the current politicized moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning youth. As youth come out at younger ages, their personal identity development collides with the adolescence period characterized by peer influence, stigma,...
Article
The constantly evolving language, understanding, and cultural context regarding the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender diverse individuals (LGBTQ+) require mental health providers to obtain LGBTQ+ cultural competency training to be affirmative and effective with this population. Unfortunately, m...
Article
Purpose: We examined the associations between intersectional minority stress and substance use among sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents of color and the moderating role of family support on these associations. Methods: Data were from a national U.S. sample of SGM adolescents of color (N = 3423). Intersectional minority stress was assessed...
Article
Purpose: This study examined the health profile of a national probability sample of three cohorts of sexual minority people, and the ways that indicators of health vary among sexual minority people across age cohorts and other defining sociodemographic characteristics, including sexual identity, gender identity, and race/ethnicity. Methods: The Gen...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Limited research assesses how sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE)-based discrimination affects alcohol use above and beyond non-SOGIE-related discrimination and how this may differ for sexual minority subgroups. We examined if SOGIE-related discrimination is additive in affecting alcohol use above and beyond non...
Article
Objective: To examine the associations between COVID-19-related living arrangements and sexual and gender minority (SGM)-related stressors (ie, identity concealment and familial rejection). Participants: N = 478 SGM university students (Mage = 22 years, SD = 4.00). Methods: SGM university students were surveyed cross-sectionally between May an...
Article
Full-text available
Using primary data from the Assessing the Social Consequences of COVID-19 study, the authors examined how the pandemic affected the stress levels of women with and without coresiding minor children (mothers vs. nonmothers), paying special attention to the moderating role of employment status. The ordinary least squares regression results show that...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Sexual minority adults experience several health care access inequities compared to their heterosexual peers; such inequities may be affected by LGBTQ+ legislation, such as the 2015 national marriage equality ruling. Methods: Using population-based data (n = 28,463) from the Association of American Medical Colleges biannual Consumer...
Article
To identify latent profiles of family environments among transgender adults and to examine the relationships between these profiles and mental and physical health. How a family‐of‐origin responds to a transgender family member has significant implications for that individual's mental and physical health. However, the extant research on the health o...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence from victim service providers suggests the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in family violence. However, empirical evidence has been limited. This study uses novel survey data to investigate the occurrence of family violence during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Data come from the second wave of the Ass...
Article
Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth face high rates of discrimination and victimization in their communities and families that contribute to elevated rates of behavioral health concerns. While the individual links between community and family environments and well‐being for this population are clear, how these environments work in unison rem...
Article
Background Victimization and depression are major stressors underlying drinking behavior among LGBTQ+ youth. There remains limited attention to setting-level factors that buffer their effects. Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) are school clubs that could promote the health of LGBTQ+ youth. We consider whether their presence in schools moderates ass...
Article
Full-text available
LGBTQ+ youth experience health disparities compared with heterosexual and cisgender youth. Community-based, positive youth development organizations are an important resource to support and affirm LGBTQ+ youth. This study aimed to identify the opportunities and challenges in supporting LGBTQ+ youth within 4-H. The study took place in one state in t...
Article
Full-text available
There are few psychosocial support programs specifically designed to meet the unique developmental and health needs of LGBTQ youth. Even when available, many youth face significant barriers to accessing LGBTQ-specific services for fear of being “outed” to parents, peers, and community members. The current study assessed the utility, feasibility, an...
Article
Little research has examined subtle, intersectional, and everyday minority stress, such as microaggressions specific to being a queer person of color, and its associations with depressive symptoms among sexual and gender minority adolescents (SGMA) of color. Moreover, research is needed to identify mechanisms that might explain the associations bet...
Article
Objective: The authors sought to describe disparities in three outcomes: self-reported mental health, need for mental health care, and barriers to care at the intersection of sexual identity and sex. Methods: Data from the 2015 Association of American Medical Colleges Consumer Survey of Health Care Access (N=5,932) were analyzed in regression an...
Article
Full-text available
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and youth with other minority sexual orientations (LGBQ+) who are more out to others about their sexual orientation identity may experience greater victimization at school based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, with negative implications for academic performance. Teacher support, however, may buff...
Article
In early 2021, over 50 bills were proposed to limit rights for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth across the United States. Anti-TGD policies and rhetoric are associated with poorer mental health for TGD youth. We used focus groups with a TGD youth research board ( N = 6) to explore the impacts of the current policy climate. Following thema...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Racial/ethnic and sexual minorities experience numerous health disparities compared to their White and heterosexual counterparts, which may be exacerbated when these social identities intersect. The authors tested for differences in health care access and satisfaction across intersections of sexual identity and race/ethnicity. Method: A...
Preprint
Purpose: Evidence from victim service providers suggests the Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in family violence. However, empirical evidence has been limited. This study uses novel survey data to investigate the occurrence of family violence during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States. Methods: Data come from the seco...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual minority young persons may be at risk for compounding mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic due to their existing vulnerabilities for psychological inequities. Indeed, recent research has documented that sexual minority young persons are experiencing compounding psychiatric effects associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, res...
Article
Purpose: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accentuated long-standing population health disparities in the United States. We examined how the pandemic and its social consequences may differentially impact sexual minority adults, relative to heterosexual adults. Methods: Data are from a U.S. national sample of adults (n = 2996; 18...
Preprint
Full-text available
Using primary data from the Assessing the Social Consequences of COVID-19 study (N=1,647), we examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the stress levels (i.e., pre-pandemic vs. during-pandemic stress) of women with and without coresiding minor children, paying special attention to the moderating role of women’s employment status. Results from...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents report higher rates of dating violence victimization compared with their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Research on dating violence often neglects diversity in sexual and gender identities and is limited to experiences in relationships. Further, given that dating violence and alcohol use are comorbid,...
Article
Although scholarship continues to document higher rates of alcohol use for sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth compared with heterosexual and cisgender youth, research identifying factors that mitigate SGM youths’ risk is nascent. Youth spend substantial time in schools; therefore, teachers could play significant roles in attenuating these healt...
Article
Background Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young persons are experiencing compounding effects of COVID-19 due to unique social inequalities and existent mental health and substance use challenges. Given that 41% of all young persons are enrolled in universities, and the increased vulnerabilities faced by SGM young persons during the pandemic, it i...
Article
Purpose Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) are more likely than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to use substances and to be bullied, yet it is unknown whether the absence/presence of youth- and LGBTQ-specific equity laws drive these disparities. The purpose of this study was to extend previous research focused on adult- and LGBTQ-specif...
Article
Full-text available
Identification of barriers to adequate health care for sexual minority populations remains elusive as they are complex and variable across sexual orientation subgroups (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual). To address these complexities, we use a U.S. nationally representative sample of health care consumers to assess sexual identity differences in health...
Article
Purpose Despite well-established substance use disparities between sexual and gender minority adolescents and their heterosexual, cisgender peers, there remain questions about whether there are developmental differences in the onset and progression of these disparities across adolescence. These perspectives are critical for prevention efforts. We t...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The study purpose was to investigate differences in past 5-year suicide attempts among racially/ethnically diverse sexual minority (SM) and heterosexual adults across the life course and examine the association of discrimination with past 5-year suicide attempts among SM adults. Methods: Using nationally representative data collected from...
Article
As queer scholars engaged in research and practice with queer and trans youth across the United States and internationally, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this vulnerable population. Physical distancing, social isolation, and school closures create challenges for adolescents as they navigate increasing independ...
Article
Today’s LGBTQ youth come of age at a time of dynamic social and political change with regard to LGBTQ rights and visibility, yet remain vulnerable to compromised mental health. Despite advances in individual-level treatment strategies, school-based programs, and state-level policies that address LGBTQ mental health, there remains a critical gap in...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-sex attracted) youth and adults report elevated rates of alcohol use and abuse relative to their heterosexual peers; these differences are strongest for sexual minority girls and women. Although preliminary evidence suggests that unsupportive parenting and maladaptive parent-child relationship quali...
Article
Objective: To examine the availability and facility-level predictors of LGBT-specific mental health and substance abuse treatment in the United States. Data sources/study setting: 2016 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, 2016 National Mental Health Service Survey, and 2015-2016 Gallup Daily tracking survey. Study design: Log...
Article
Background: Sexual minority populations in the United States have persistently higher rates of cigarette use than heterosexuals, partially driven by exposure to minority stressors (e.g., discrimination and victimization). Little is known about cigarette use across cohorts of sexual minority adults who came of age in distinctly different sociopolit...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Online survey results reveal that high proportions of LGBTQ+ students in the U.S. are facing basic needs, academic, and financial-related challenges during COVID-19. They are also facing high levels of substance use, psychological distress, and social isolation, and receiving little emotional support during COVID-19. As a result of COVID-19, high p...
Article
Using data from the first national probability sample of Black, White, and Latinx sexual minority people in the United States, we examined whether and how sexual identity development timing and pacing differs across demographic subgroups at the intersections of cohort, sex, sexual identity, and race/ethnicity. Among a sample of 1,491 participants a...
Article
Full-text available
Scientific evidence regarding sexual minority populations has generally come from studies based on two types of samples: community-derived samples and probability samples. Probability samples are lauded as the gold standard of population research for their ability to represent the population of interest. However, while studies using community sampl...
Chapter
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young people are coming of age at a time of dynamic social and political changes with regard to LGBTQ rights and visibility around the world. And yet, contemporary cohorts of SGM youth continue to evidence the same degree of compromised mental health demonstrated by SGM youth of past decades. The authors review the...
Article
Introduction Sexual orientation‒related disparities in alcohol use disorder are well-established. Yet, the degree to which sexual orientation differences in alcohol use disorder vary across the life course is poorly understood. There is also a limited understanding of how exposure to minority stressors and their relationship with alcohol use disord...
Article
Girls in foster care are at heightened risk for poor sexual health outcomes compared to their general population counterparts. Sexual minority girls are also at greater risk for poor sexual health compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Yet, little is known about the sexual health of sexual minority girls in foster care. This study aims to pro...
Article
Supportive housing later in life tends to be a key concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) elders. Most senior care providers are un(der)prepared to meet the needs of older LGBT adults. This study evaluated the efficacy of a 4 h, face-to-face, research-based, LGBT-diversity training designed to improve senior housing facility sta...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: We propose a new theoretically grounded approach for estimating sexual orientation-related health risk that accounts for the unique and shared variance of sexual identity across other measures of sexual orientation (i.e., attraction and behavior). We argue and illustrate that this approach provides specificity not demonstrated by approache...
Article
Background: Researchers combined both versions of the original Utrecht Gender Dysphoria Scale (UGDS) to create a single gender spectrum version (UGDS-GS) which measures dissatisfaction with gender identity and expression over time as well as comfort with affirmed gender identity. Aim: This study examined the construct validity of the newly revised,...
Article
Purpose: Using representative school-based data and community-level primary data, we investigated how environmental factors (e.g., school and community climate) might be protective against substance use behaviors among a vulnerable population of adolescents. Methods: We analyzed a sample of 2678 sexual minority adolescents using a combination of s...
Article
Background: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents are more likely than their heterosexual and cisgender peers to smoke cigarettes. Family rejection has been associated with adverse health outcomes; however, few studies have examined whether SGM-specific family rejection is associated with cigarette smoking among SGM adolescents. Method: A...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth are more likely to use alcohol than their heterosexual cisgender peers. At the same time, SGM youth experience sexuality- and gender identity-specific stressors known to exacerbate negative health outcomes. Though scholars have established a link between minority stressors (e.g., internalized stigma and victim...
Article
Purpose: We examined how substance use differed as a function of sex assigned at birth and gender identity (cisgender, transgender, or nonbinary/genderqueer) by type of substance. We sought to test whether current gender identity and sex assigned at birth were key factors in substance use among a large contemporary sample that included transgender...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Sexual minorities are disproportionately more likely than heterosexuals to suffer from substance use disorders, but relatively little is known about differences in substance use disorders across diverse sexual minority subgroups. There is also limited understanding of how different social stressors account for sexual orientation disp...
Article
In the United States, sexual minority (SM) status is associated with a number of health disparities. Based on mounting evidence, stigma and discrimination have been cited as key barriers to health equity for this population. We estimated the prevalence of three types of discrimination as a function of age among SM adults from the National Epidemiol...
Article
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth experience high rates of victimization leading to health disparities. Community size and community climate are associated with health outcomes among SGM youth; however, we lack studies that include them as covariates alongside victimization to understand their collective impact on health. This study utilized m...
Article
Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth face marginalization and oppression on the basis of their SGM identity, and they often lack traditional support systems to deal with these minority stressors. SGM community resources may alleviate the impact of the stressors that SGM youth face, but these have not been studied in relation to the size and clima...
Article
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify subgroups of sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth who are most vulnerable to tobacco use. Methods: We analyzed data from a national nonprobability sample of 11,192 SGM youth (ages 13-17). Age of cigarette initiation and current use were modeled using Cox proportional hazard and binomial regressi...
Article
Gay‐Straight Alliances (GSA) and school policies focused on support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning youth may reduce bias‐based bullying and enhance social supports in schools. Using multivariate regression, we tested the relationship between youth reports of the presence of GSAs and LGBTQ‐focused policies, independen...
Article
Background: Using a population-based sample of youth, we examined rates of cigarette use and trends in cigarette use disparities between heterosexual youth and 3 subgroups of sexual minority youth (SMY) (ie, lesbian or gay, bisexual, and unsure) from 2005 to 2015. Methods: Data are from 6 cohorts of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a national, bi...
Article
Purpose: Sexual minorities experience significant health disparities across a variety of mental, behavioral, and physical health indicators. Yet, an understanding of the etiology and progression of sexual minority health disparities across the lifespan is limited. Methods: We used the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Con...
Article
Purpose: We aimed to estimate latent classes of concurrent polysubstance use and test for sexual orientation differences in latent class memberships with representative data from adolescents living in 19 U.S. states. We also tested whether sex, race/ethnicity, and age moderated the sexual identity differences in polysubstance use class memberships...
Article
Background: Preliminary evidence suggests that sexual minority (e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual, and same-sex attracted) youth are overrepresented in child welfare services. Yet, no study to date has been able to test this hypothesis with national data. Objective: Using a two-study design, we test whether sexual minority youth are overrepresented in...
Article
Introduction: The Genderqueer Identity Scale (GQI; McGuire et al., this issue) – a newly developed and validated measure – assesses genderqueer identity via four subscales: challenging the gender binary, the extent to which participants actively work to dismantle gender binaries in identity and expression); social construction of gender, or the deg...
Article
Few societal attitudes and opinions have changed as quickly as those regarding sexual minority people and rights. In the context of dramatic social change, there have been multiple policy changes toward social inclusion and rights for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people, and perceptions that the sociocultural context for LGB people—perhaps part...
Article
Purpose: To examine standard binge drinking (≥4 drinks for females, ≥5 drinks for males) and high-intensity binge drinking (≥8 drinks for females, ≥10 drinks for males) among heterosexual and sexual minority youth in the US and whether reports of school-based victimization mediate this association. Methods: Survey data are from the 2015 Youth Ri...
Article
Introduction and Aims Sexual identity disparities in smoking behaviours are well established; however, there is limited research on whether these disparities have diminished as the social and political landscape has changed for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Thus, we examined changes in prevalence and sexual identity disparities in three smoking...
Article
Sexual minority (SM) mental health disparities constitute a serious public health concern, and emerging research highlights the role discrimination may have in these health disparities. Among a nationally-representative sample of US adults from the NESARC-III, we conducted time-varying effects models (TVEM) to estimate the age-varying prevalences o...
Article
Purpose: Sexual minority youth (SMY) are more likely to use alcohol than their heterosexual peers, yet a lack of research on within-group differences and modifiable mechanisms has hindered efforts to address alcohol use disparities. The purpose of the current study was to examine differences in the mediating role of homophobic bullying on the asso...