Sarah W Whitton

Sarah W Whitton
University of Cincinnati | UC · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

104
Publications
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Publications

Publications (104)
Article
Introduction: Suicidal ideation (SI) disproportionately affects sexual and gender minority (SGM) versus cisgender/heterosexual youth, likely due to the minority stressors (MS) they face. Research has shown cross-sectional associations between SGM MS and suicidality; however, few studies have used longitudinal data or examined racial differences in...
Article
Full-text available
Background Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic in the USA, and a large number of new infections among YMSM occur in the context of main or primary partnerships. At the same time, healthy romantic relationships promote health and wellbeing by improving social support and encouraging healthy beha...
Article
This study examined aspirations for future long-term committed relationships, marriage, and parenthood in a sample of 392 racially diverse sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth assigned female at birth (AFAB) aged 16-20. Differences by gender identity, sexual identity, and race/ethnicity were assessed, as were associations with contextual variable...
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Full-text available
Many sexual minority youth of color experience enacted stigma based on each of their minority identities. We examined whether experiences of racist discrimination and heterosexist microaggressions were associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) among female-assigned at birth (FAB) sexual minority youth of color. Data were drawn from a larger s...
Article
Objective: Bi+ individuals (i.e., people with attractions to more than one gender) are at heightened risk for cannabis use disorders compared with heterosexual and lesbian/gay individuals, and their heightened risk has been attributed to the unique stressors that they experience as bi+ individuals. Limited research has quantitatively examined the...
Article
Sexual and gender minorities assigned female at birth (i.e., sexual minority women, transgender men, and gender diverse [SMW TGD] individuals) experience disproportionately high rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use problems. Romantic relationship involvement has been shown to be beneficial to mental health and substance use among sexual...
Article
Sexual and gender minorities assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB) are at heightened risk for problematic cannabis use compared to heterosexual cisgender women. Despite evidence that social context influences patterns of substance use, no known studies have examined context of cannabis use among SGM-AFAB. The current study examined two aspects of soc...
Article
Objective: The prevalence of anxiety and depressive (i.e., internalizing) disorders is higher among bi+ individuals (i.e., individuals with attractions to more than one gender and/or who identify as bisexual or pansexual) compared to both heterosexual and lesbian/gay individuals. Cross-sectional research has demonstrated that stressors unique to bi...
Article
Objective: Sexual and gender minority youths are more likely to consider, attempt, and die by suicide than are heterosexual and cisgender youths, yet little is known about how to predict future attempts or transitions from suicidal thoughts to behaviors. Additionally, adaptive measurement of psychopathology is a promising approach that may help ch...
Article
Objective: Sexual and gender minority people of color (SGM-POC) report higher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) than White SGM, adding to growing evidence that people holding multiple stigmatized social identities are at particular risk for adverse experiences. We aimed to identify mechanisms underlying the racial/ethnic disparities in IPV...
Article
Objective: Sexual and gender minority people of color (SGM-POC) experience intersectional forms of minority stress, including heterosexism within racial/ethnic minority communities, which can contribute to feelings of conflict between SGM and racial/ethnic identities. Internalized stigma may be a consequence of sexual orientation-based discriminati...
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Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that sexual non-monogamy is not associated with lower relationship satisfaction among adult male same-sex couples and may therefore be a viable alternative to monogamy. However, sexual minority men with non-monogamous agreements have reported lower commitment and trust in their relationships than those with monogamous ag...
Article
Sexual and gender minorities assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB) experience significant mental health disparities, making it important to identify protective factors against psychological and substance use problems in this population. We examined whether romantic relationship involvement, a well-established protective factor for mental health in he...
Article
Objective: Over the past decade, rates of death by suicide have increased among youth. Efficient and effective screening approaches are needed for suicide prevention. Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) experience profound disparities, but little is known about subgroups and risk assessments need to be validated. This study tested the psychome...
Article
Background Sexual minority women (SMW) are at heightened risk for problematic cannabis use compared to heterosexual women. Social learning theory posits that characteristics of one’s cannabis use companions influence problematic use. However, most research on cannabis use among sexual minorities has focused on minority stress and not social learnin...
Article
Female-assigned at birth sexual and gender minorities (FAB SGM) are at elevated risk of experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV), yet little longitudinal research has been conducted with this population. In the current study, we attempted to understand how patterns of IPV victimization and perpetration, measured across a wide range of IPV behav...
Article
Very little research has examined sexual satisfaction in young gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men (YMSM). Sexual satisfaction has important implications for individual wellbeing and is a central component of romantic relationship functioning and satisfaction. In order to fill this gap, this study examined interpersonal and in...
Article
Background: Partner Assisted Smoking Cessation Treatment (PACT) was designed to improve smoking abstinence rates by integrating evidence-based relationship education strategies to build effective couple support into standard cognitive behavioral smoking cessation treatment (CBT). Methods: This small randomized clinical trial examined the feasibilit...
Article
Background Research has documented higher levels of substance use among sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals – particularly sexual minority women (SMW) and transgender people – than among their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Because SGM substance use is linked to stigma-based victimization, it is crucial to identify social contexts that...
Article
Background: There is a high rate of marijuana use among young sexual and gender minorities (SGM) and, as a result of recent state-level, fragmented marijuana laws, there is also likely high variability in their perceptions of marijuana decriminalization (PMD). Methods: Data came from two cohorts of young SGM (aged 16-29) in Chicago, RADAR and FAB40...
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Full-text available
While there is a sizeable literature on sexual satisfaction among male–female mixed-sex couples, research examining other types of relationships (e.g., same-sex) is limited. The current study aimed to broaden our understanding of sexual satisfaction across the diverse relationships of sexual and gender minority individuals assigned female at birth...
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Full-text available
Transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people are disproportionately impacted by various health issues and associated risk factors, but little is known about differences in these outcomes between gender identities within the TGD population. This study characterized the health of a diverse sample of TGD youth and young adults. Data were taken from the...
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Full-text available
Objective: Sexual and gender minority individuals assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB) are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, and substance use and problems compared with heterosexual cisgender women. Cross-sectional research has demonstrated that minority stressors are associated with anxiety, depression, and substance use. However, longit...
Article
We examined whether romantic relationship involvement, a well-established protective factor against mental health problems among heterosexual adults, is also protective for sexual and gender minority emerging adults assigned female at birth (SGM-AFAB), a group at high risk for mental health issues. Using cross-sectional data from a community sample...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Sexual minorities assigned female at birth are at increased risk for experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) compared to heterosexual individuals, and bisexual individuals assigned female at birth appear to be at greatest risk. However, few studies have examined potential explanatory factors. Partner jealousy may contribute to bise...
Article
Limited research on female-assigned-at-birth sexual and gender minorities (FAB SGM) suggests that their risk of psychological, physical, and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization and perpetration may be linked to childhood violence exposure (CVE), such as experiencing child abuse, or witnessing sibling or interparental abuse. That sa...
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Full-text available
Background: Young men who have sex with men have a high HIV incidence, and a substantial proportion of incident infections occur in the context of main partnerships. However, romantic relationships also provide numerous benefits to individual health and wellbeing. 2GETHER is a relationship education and HIV prevention program for young male couple...
Article
Full-text available
Non-monosexual individuals (i.e., people with attractions to more than one gender) are at heightened risk for numerous negative health outcomes compared to individuals with exclusive attractions to either same-gender or different-gender individuals. This increased risk has been linked to the unique stress non-monosexual individuals experience due t...
Article
Measures of intimate partner violence (IPV) have largely been developed and validated in heterosexual, cisgender samples, with little attention to whether these measures are culturally appropriate for sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. However, rates of IPV are two to three times higher among SGM than heterosexual populations, highlighti...
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Full-text available
Sexual minorities are at increased risk for substance use and mental health problems. Although previous studies have examined the associations between outness and health outcomes, few have used longitudinal designs or examined differences across subgroups of sexual minorities. To address these gaps, the current study examined sexual orientation and...
Article
Objective: People of color who are also sexual and gender minorities (SGM) experience forms of enacted stigma based on both their racial/ethnic identity and their SGM status. We set out to test the effects of enacted stigma specific to race/ethnicity and SGM identity on mental health and substance use problems among female assigned at birth (FAB)...
Article
Sexual and gender minority youth, especially those assigned female at birth, are at risk for intimate partner violence (IPV) due to minority stressors. With a sample of 352 sexual and gender minority youth assigned female at birth (age 16–32), we aimed to describe IPV in this population, including the prevalence, directionality, frequency, co-occur...
Article
Full-text available
Young MSM are at increased risk for HIV, especially in the context of serious relationships, but there is a lack of couples-based HIV prevention for this population. The 2GETHER intervention—an HIV prevention and relationship education program for young male couples—demonstrated promising effects in a pilot trial. However, there is evidence that in...
Article
Research on the intergenerational transmission of divorce has demonstrated that individuals who come from divorced families have reduced commitment to the institution of marriage, which may translate to reduced commitment to one’s current relationship. We tested the association between two components of relationship commitment (dedication and const...
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Full-text available
The dating landscape has changed markedly in recent years, with many emerging adults taking a less committed approach to relationships and sex (e.g., “hooking up”). Delayed marital transitions and declining rates of marriage have led to concerns that the rise of the “hookup culture” is associated with a devaluing of marriage. Previous research on a...
Article
Background: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents and young adults experience elevated rates of alcohol and drug use; it is, therefore, important to identify protective factors that decrease risk for substance use in this population. This study examined whether involvement in a romantic relationship, a well-established protective factor aga...
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Full-text available
Despite remarkable similarities to different-sex couples in terms of core relationship processes and outcomes, same-sex couples differ from different-sex couples in important ways, including relational strengths (e.g., more egalitarian) and challenges associated with their sexual minority identity (e.g., discrimination). Given that most cognitive-b...
Article
Sexual minority youth experience elevated rates of internalizing disorders; it is, therefore, important to identify protective factors that decrease risk for psychological distress in this population. In this study, we examined whether involvement in a romantic relationship, a well-established protective factor for mental health among heterosexual...
Article
Despite the prevalence of “hooking up” among emerging adults, little is known about the outcomes of these encounters. A sample of 348 college students completed a survey on expected, ideal, and actual relational outcomes of hook ups (assessed at a 10-week follow-up). Results showed that most men and women expected outcomes involving minimal commitm...
Article
Mixed methods data were collected from 57 couples who participated in the Strengthening Same Sex Relationships (SSSR) Programs, relationship education programs adapted for same-sex couples. Quantitative and qualitative data yielded key themes, including high program satisfaction, appreciation that the program was designed specifically for same-sex...
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Full-text available
Relationship education represents a promising, nonstigmatizing approach to promoting the health and stability of same-sex couples. A new culturally sensitive adaptation of relationship education was developed specifically for female same-sex couples (The Strengthening Same-Sex Relationships Program, Female version; SSSR-F). SSSR-F includes adaptati...
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Full-text available
Young men who have sex with men are at high risk for HIV, and most new HIV infections occur in serious relationships. This pilot study assessed the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of the 2GETHER couples-based HIV prevention and relationship education intervention for young same-sex male couples. We enrolled 57 young male couples...
Article
Although intimate partner violence (IPV) is highly prevalent among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, little is known regarding its developmental patterns, risk factors, or health-related consequences. We examined IPV victimization in an ethnically diverse community-based convenience sample of 248 LGBT youth (aged 16-20 at study...
Article
Relationship education, effective in improving relationship quality among different-sex couples, represents a promising and nonstigmatizing approach to promoting the health and stability of same-sex couples. A new culturally sensitive relationship education program was developed specifically for male same-sex couples, which includes adaptations of...
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Full-text available
Objective: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important public health problem with high prevalence and serious costs. Although literature has largely focused on IPV among heterosexuals, studies have recently begun examining IPV in LGBT samples, with mounting evidence suggesting IPV may be more common among LGBT individuals than heterosexuals. L...
Article
In this study, we explored whether the formalization of same-sex relationships via legal or social ceremonies is associated with relationship outcomes, and whether these associations could be accounted for by enhanced commitment or social support for the relationship. At Time 1, a geographically diverse sample of 604 U.S. adults in cohabiting same-...
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Because marriage has been denied to same-sex couples, it is likely that the meaning and significance ascribed to non-marital cohabitation may be unique. Further, it is unclear whether same-sex couples view marriage as important to their relationships, and if they do, why. Using qualitative data from 526 individuals in cohabiting same-sex relationsh...
Article
Despite being highly similar to different-sex couples in relationship quality, same-sex couples are at heightened risk for breakup, highlighting the need for research to identify risk factors for instability in same-sex relationships. Using a national sample of 595 adults involved in cohabiting same-sex romantic relationships, we examined several i...
Article
In this study, the authors explored whether type of sexual agreement (for monogamy, unrestricted nonmonogamy, or restricted nonmonogamy) is associated with the relationship quality and psychological well-being of men in same-sex relationships. A geographically diverse sample of 219 U.S. men in cohabiting same-sex relationships reported on sexual ag...
Article
Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine whether attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom levels in college undergraduates are associated with poorer romantic relationship quality, and to test whether emotion regulation difficulties, perceived stress, and hostile relationship conflict mediate this association. Participan...
Article
Extending research based on different-sex (i.e., heterosexual) couples, the authors explored associations between romantic relationship quality and depressive symptoms in a geographically diverse sample (N = 571) of U.S. adults in same-sex relationships. The authors also examined whether this association was moderated by individual characteristics...
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This study examined how the degree of within-person variation (or temporal fluctuation) in relationship quality over time was associated with well-being (psychological distress and life satisfaction). A national sample of 18- to 34-year-old men and women in unmarried, opposite-sex relationships completed six waves of surveys every 4 months (N = 748...
Article
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experience multiple sexual health inequities driven, in part, by deficits in parental and peer support, school-based sex education programs, and community services. Research suggests that the Internet may be an important resource in the development of sexual health among LGBT youth. We examined t...
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In a sample of 484 emerging adults in dating relationships, we tested whether four intrapersonal characteristics (masculinity, femininity, neuroticism, and co-rumination) moderated the association between relationship satisfaction and depressive symptoms. Femininity demonstrated a moderating effect for women only; relationship satisfaction and depr...
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Evidence-based practice involves the consideration of efficacy and effectiveness, clinical expertise, and patient preference in treatment selection. However, patient preference for psychiatric treatment has been understudied. The aim of this meta-analytic review was to provide an estimate of the proportion of patients preferring psychological treat...
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Full-text available
A random multistate sample of married individuals (N = 1,931) was used to explore whether more positive attitudes toward divorce and weaker commitment to marriage may contribute to the greater instability of remarriages than first marriages. Remarried adults, whether or not they brought children from a previous union into the remarriage, reported m...
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Objective: To examine whether involvement in committed dating relationships is associated with university students' mental health (depressive symptoms and problem alcohol use, including binge drinking), and whether these associations differ by gender. Participants: A sample of 889 undergraduate students aged 18 to 25. Methods: Self-report meas...
Article
Same-sex couples are exposed to intense, and sometimes unique, risk factors for relationship dissolution and distress. Relationship education programs, developed to prevent relationship distress and break-up, are generally designed for heterosexual couples and may not meet the needs of same-sex couples. This project involved the initial evaluation...
Article
Same-sex couples represent a group likely to benefit from relationship education, given the many unique challenges they face. However, it is unclear whether existing programs, predominantly designed for married heterosexual couples, are appropriate for use with same-sex couples. In this article we highlight the need for quality relationship educati...
Article
This study compared the relative efficacy of intensive versus weekly panic control treatment (PCT) for adolescent panic disorder with agoraphobia (PDA). Twenty-six adolescents participated in weekly sessions and 25 received intensive treatment involving daily sessions. Both groups demonstrated significant and comparable reductions in panic disorder...
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Previous research findings have shown positive effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy for primary anxiety disorders as well as for nonprimary, co-occurring anxiety disorders. In this study, we analyzed data from an existing randomized controlled trial of intensive treatment for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia (PDA) to examine the effect...
Article
The present study evaluated attentional bias in adolescents diagnosed with panic disorder. Although a large body of research exists in the area of attentional bias in adults, this feature of panic disorder is not well understood in adolescents. Twenty-five adolescents, aged 12-17, with a panic disorder diagnosis were included in the study. An emoti...
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Extending research that was based on married adults, we explored associations between romantic relationship satisfaction and depressive symptoms in a sample of 484 emerging adults (ages 18-25) in nonmarital dating relationships. In addition, we investigated whether the relationship characteristics of relationship length, interdependence (i.e., inve...
Chapter
Marital Functioning and Divorce in Remarriage and StepfamiliesClinical in Terventions for StepfamiliesConclusion and Recommendations
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Investigators are persistently aiming to clarify structural relationships among the emotional disorders in efforts to improve diagnostic classification. The high co-occurrence of anxiety and mood disorders, however, has led investigators to portray the current structure of anxiety and depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Di...
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In this study, we explored whether the degree of temporal instability in relationship satisfaction might add to our understanding of the well-documented association between relationship quality and depression. We hypothesized that greater relationship satisfaction instability would be associated with higher depressive symptoms, controlling for mean...
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In this theoretical paper, we review central concepts in the psychological literature on relationship commitment to provide a foundation to discuss two themes related to long-term romantic relationships and marriages. First, we describe and discuss the role that commitment plays in stabilizing romantic attachment. Second, we use empirical research...
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This investigation represents the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of Panic Control Treatment for Adolescents (PCT-A). Thirteen adolescents, ages 14 to 17, were randomized to 11 weekly sessions of PCT-A treatment, whereas 13 were randomized to a self-monitoring control group. Results indicate that adolescen...
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Full-text available
Using data from 210 couples who provided data across the first 5 years of marriage, we examined how premarital communication quality was related to divorce and later distress. The results showed that premarital observed negative and positive communication nearly reached significance as predictors of divorce, while self-reported negative communicati...
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New and innovative ways of implementing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are required to address the varied needs of youth with anxiety disorders. Brief treatment formats may be useful in assisting teens to return to healthy functioning quickly and can make treatment more accessible for those who may not have local access to providers of CBT. Thi...