As a developmental psychologist with a background in gender studies, I am interested in the intersections between culture, sexuality and health. I use an ecological perspective to investigate cultural identities' influence on development during adolescence and emerging adulthood. A key objective of my work is the identification of multi- level cultural factors increasing health inequities. I am particularly interested in identifying ways these health trends are informed by sexual scripting processes
I began this scripting work over a decade ago when examining mainstream Hip Hop culture’s influence on African American women’s sexual risk outcomes. This cutting edge research was among the first in the field of psychology to examine African American adolescent’s scripting processes relationship to Hip Hop culture and behavioral outcomes. My current research foci builds upon this by examining the ways in which cultural beliefs and expectations influence health inequities, identity development, and decision making processes. I frame this research using a non- deficit lens, and I utilize approaches that prioritize cultural humility throughout all phases of the research process.
Dr. Stephens' research examines socio-historical factors shaping minority populations' sexual scripting and sexual health processes, with emphasis on gender and ethnic/ racial identity development. Her research is conducted through the Heath Disparities and Cultural Identities Lab. With an ultimate goal of reducing health disparities, her research specifically examines diverse cultural beliefs' influence on intimate relationships and sexual health decision making in marginalized populations.
A key goal of Dr. Stephens' work is to identify factors that can help prevent continued health disparities, particularly within understudied and marginalized communities. Her recent study outcomes highlight the importance of gender and racial/ethnic identity, familial processes, and media influences on behavioral outcomes. These studies fall under three broad research foci: Health Disparities, Identity Development, and Culture.
Dr. Stephens' publication record reflects the development of concepts and the path to her current thinking about the ways in which cultural beliefs and expectations influence health disparities, identity development, and popular culture frameworks.
Scholarly & Creative Works
2010Youth Culture in Global Cinema.. Ed. 25.
Other Scholarly Work
Works By Students
chaired theses and dissertations
- Zimmerman, Adam, Impact of Anonymity and Social Modeling: Online Aggression in Emerging Adults and Their Religious and Political Ideologies 2017
- Vila, Victor Christian, Social Networks, Health & Hispanic Gay Men Living in South Florida 2017
- Oramas, Laura A, The Influence of Parental Aggression and Cultural Gender Role Beliefs on Hispanic College Women's Experiences with Psychological Aggression 2015
- Tamir, Hod, Romantic Relationships and Adjustment in Early Adulthood: The Role of Cross-sex Experience in the Context of Social Norms and Support 2015
- Quintana, Shannon M, Parental and Cultural Influences on Hispanic College Women's Verbal Intimate Partner Violence Victimization: An Examination of Within-Group Differences 2014
- Oramas, Laura A, The Influence of Parental Verbal Aggression on Hispanic College Women’s Use of Verbal Aggression in Romantic Relationships 2012
principal investigator on
- PROJECT ACES (Affirming Children through Economic Stability) awarded by U.S. Department of Health & Human Servic 2021 - 2023
- Mentoring Underrepresented and Racial/ Ethnic Minority (UREM) Students and their Peers beyond "Crisis" awarded by Society Psychological Study Social Issue 2020 - 2021
- Identifying maternal relationship script messaging processes to reduce verbal sexual coercion among Black Adolescent teens awarded by American Psychological Association 2014 - 2016
- Identifying intimate partner relationship scripts to reduce verbal sexual coercion among Hispanic emerging adults awarded by American Psychological Association 2013 - 2016
- Evaluation and Tailoring of Cancer Education with Parents to Reduce HPV Infection awarded by National Institute of Nursing Research 2012 - 2013
- Dionne Stephens
- https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6636-6625 (confirmed)