Recipients of the Wayne F. Placek Award


Prof. Jennifer K. Bosson (Department of Psychology, University of South Florida), for her study of male gender role threats and heterosexual men's antigay reactions. In a series of laboratory experiments, Dr. Bosson will test whether public gender role threats compel heterosexual men to "prove" their heterosexuality by avoiding or aggressing against gay men, and whether the availability of opportunities to assert their heterosexuality will reduce men's antigay reactions following gender threats. In addition, she will examine the role of several potentially important moderating variables (e.g., essentialist beliefs about sexual orientation, gender role attitudes) in this process.

Prof. Lisa M. Diamond (Department of Psychology, University of Utah), for her study of physiological reactivity to conflict in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples. Dr. Diamond will examine physiological responses to conflict patterns in same-sex and different-sex intimate relationships. Using a sample of male-male, female-female, and male-female couples, she will compare autonomic nervous system and endocrine reactivity to hostility and withdrawal, two of the most common, detrimental, and gender-specific features of conflict behavior in couples. By extending previous research in this area to same-sex partners, the research will provide a basis for evidence-based interventions, therapies, and outreach programs to educate sexual minority individuals about conflict patterns that may be uniquely problematic for female-female and male-male couples, and to help them promote and sustain healthy relationships.

Prof. James A. Coan (Department of Psychology, University of Virginia), for his study of social regulation of neural threat responding in gay and lesbian couples. Dr. Coan will examine the social regulation of emotional neural functions in members of same-sex couples. Extending his previous research with heterosexual couples, he will obtain functional magnetic resonance imaging of brain activity under threat of mild shock from participants in committed same-sex relationships while alone, while holding a romantic partner's hand, and while holding hands with a same-sex stranger. As with heterosexual couples, Dr. Coan hypothesizes that partner hand holding will be associated with pervasive attenuation of the neural threat system and that this effect will be most pronounced in couples with the highest quality relationships.



Prof. Abbie E. Goldberg (Department of Psychology, Clark University), for her study of the transition to adoptive parenthood for lesbian couples. Dr. Goldberg will explore women's experiences as they become parents, with a special focus on lesbian couples' division of labor and parental roles. She will investigate factors that shape and influence mental health, relationship quality, and parental adjustment during the transition to parenthood.

Prof. E. Ashby Plant (Department of Psychology, Florida State University), for her study of impression formation and heterosexuals' responses to gay people. Dr. Plant will examine how the timing of gay people's disclosure of their sexual orientation to heterosexuals influences impression formation and the quality of interactions. She will also assess how heterosexuals' level of sexual prejudice and their motivation to respond without prejudice influence their impressions of and interactions with gay people.



Placek Awards 2006 Retrospective. In 2005, the American Psychological Foundation celebrated the Placek Awards program by publishing a retrospective report on the projects and investigators funded in the program's first decade. Download the retrospective report.



Prof. Gregory B. Lewis (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University), for his study of public attitudes toward same-sex marriage. Dr. Lewis will collect a large number of data sets from national surveys completed over the past 30 years, and will conduct secondary analyses of the data to provide new insights into public opinion about policy issues related to sexual orientation at state and national levels, including attitudes toward marriage equality. He will study a variety of issues, including (a) the influence on attitudes of variables such as knowing someone who is gay and believing sexual orientation is innate; (b) whether moral and general disapproval of homosexuality historically have followed the same trends and have proved to be affected by similar variables; and (c) whether trends in public attitudes toward state sodomy laws might provide a model for understanding how attitudes toward marriage equality might change.

Prof. Ann Marie Ryan (Department of Psychology, Michigan State University), for her study of sexual orientation harassment in the workplace. Informed by research on the measurement of other forms of workplace harassment, her project will use Web-based survey methods to develop a measure of sexual orientation harassment (SOH) in the workplace. The research will include three phases: (a) descriptions of critical incidents of workplace harassment and identity management strategies will be gathered through focus groups; (b) the SOH measure will be developed with a Web survey; and (c) using a new sample, the relationship of SOH scores to individual characteristics (orientation, identity management, endorsement of status legitimizing beliefs), work outcomes (satisfaction, commitment, work withdrawal behaviors), and well-being will be assessed.



Prof. Glenn I. Roisman (Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), for his study of the developmental foundations of gay and lesbian relationships. His study will comprehensively examine how gay men's and lesbians' representations of their childhood experiences with caregivers are associated with the organization of their behavioral, physiological, and subjective emotional experiences in their committed adult partnerships. The study's main goals are: (1) to more fully characterize individual and dyadic differences in gay and lesbian relationships that may emerge from adults' representations of their childhood experiences with primary caregivers, (2) to explore the psychological and physiological consequences of the emotional dynamics of same-sex romantic relationships within a multi-method, multi-informant design, (3) to examine the role of uniquely challenging experiences for gays and lesbians (e.g., coming-out experiences) that may affect the course of future relationships, and (4) to more adequately characterize differences and similarities in how heterosexual and same-sex partners draw on childhood experiences toward building successful adult relationships.

Prof. Joe N. Rollins (Department of Political Science, Queens College, CUNY), for his study of legislative debates and legal rulings related to same-sex marriage in the United States. His project will use content analysis techniques to track and examine legislative and judicial texts, and will develop statistical models using political, geographic, and social context variables to predict which arguments concerning same-sex marriage succeed, in what venues, and before which audiences.



Prof. Donald P. Haider-Markel (Department of Political Science, University of Kansas), for his study of the role of candidate sexual orientation in elections. His project will combine quantitative and qualitative methods to empirically examine whether and how candidate sexual orientation influenced voter support for state legislative candidates between 1992 and 2000, and to determine which factors predict the likelihood that lesbian, gay, and bisexual candidates are elected.

Prof. Stacey S. Horn and Prof. Larry P. Nucci (College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago), for their study of adolescents' attitudes about gender norms and sexual orientation. Their study will investigate adolescents' beliefs about homosexuality, their attitudes toward gay men and lesbians, and their evaluations of the treatment of gay, lesbian, and gender-nonconforming peers.

Prof. Bonnie Moradi (Department of Psychology, University of Florida) for her study of minority stress and the mental health of lesbians and gay men. Her project is a prospective study of the extent to which four aspects of minority stress (internalized homophobia, expectations of stigmatization, experiences of prejudice, and concealment of sexual orientation) predict mental health-related outcomes among gay men and lesbians.



Prof. Michael A. Ash and M. Lee Badgett (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst), for their study of health insurance inequality for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Their project will use data from the Current Population Survey to analyze inequalities in employer-provided health insurance coverage and to assess the impact and costs of employer-provided health benefits for domestic partners of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.

Prof. Paisley A. Currah (Department of Political Science, Brooklyn College of CUNY), for his study of the the ways in which gender and sexuality have been defined in U.S. court cases, and the effectiveness of various types of arguments in persuading the legal system to seriously consider discrimination claims on behalf of transgender people. He will conduct a content analysis of all published federal and state judicial opinions in the U.S. involving individuals whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to the social norms attached to their birth sex. His findings promise to yield valuable insights into the contemporary social meanings surrounding gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation, and how those meanings have changed in recent decades.

Prof. Nilanjana Dasgupta (Department of Psychology, New School University), for her study of the behavioral correlates of implicit and explicit sexual prejudice. Her project will apply social psychological research on implicit (nonconscious) prejudice to heterosexuals' attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. In addition to extending an innovative methodology to the study of sexual prejudice, the project will also assess the effectiveness of a prejudice-reduction intervention.

Prof. Robin J. Lewis (Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University), for her study of the beneficial effects of expressive writing for lesbians. With her coinvestigator, Dr. Valerian Derlega, she will examine the effect of a written disclosure intervention on the physical and psychological well-being of lesbians. This project will build upon previous findings that writing about traumatic and stressful life events can enhance the writer's physical and mental health, and will assess the applicability of that research to women who experience stress related to their minority sexual orientation. Prof. Lewis' study promises to yield important insights into processes of stress and coping among lesbians, and will test an intervention for mitigating the adverse effects of such stress.



Prof. Ilan Meyer (Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University), for his study of how lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals experience stress — minority stress as well as general stress unrelated to sexual orientation. The study will also describe the coping strategies that members of sexual minorities use in dealing with stressors, and will examine additional stresses experienced by individuals with multiple minority status (women, racial and ethnic minorities). Prof. Meyer's study promises to yield important insights into processes of stress and coping among members of sexual minorities, and the ways in which minority stress is related to general mental health status.

Prof. Patrick C. McKenry and Julianne M. Serovich (Department of Human Development and Family Science, Ohio State University) for their study of the factors that contribute to partner abuse in gay and lesbian intimate relationships. Their study will be especially innovative in its focus on the perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

Prof. Jeffrey Lynn Woodyard (Department of Communication Studies & Theater Arts, Stetson University) for his study of church involvement among African-American men who have sex with men. The study begins with the observation that many African American men who have sex with other men are highly involved in African American churches, but those churches often refuse to openly acknowledge that any of their members are homosexual. Prof. Woodyard plans to describe the experiences of such men and explore the ways in which their church involvement is related to their self esteem and health-related behaviors.



Prof. Douglas Creed (Carroll School of Management, Department of Psychology, Boston College), for his study of the ways that gay and lesbian Protestant ministers enact their social identities in often hostile institutional settings while trying to change those institutions from within. In addition to providing rich qualitative data about the ways that change agents operate within organizational constraints to alter the ways that their institutions respond to lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, Prof. Creed's study promises to yield important insights into the relationship between religion and antigay prejudice.

Prof. Sharon Scales Rostosky (Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky), for her study of how young same-sex couples jointly construct "scripts" about intimacy and commitment. Prof. Rostosky's project promises to yield a rich and more complex understanding of the individual, interpersonal, and sociopolitical contexts in which same-sex couples negotiate their intimate relationships.

Dr. Stephen T. Russell (Department of Human Development, University of California, Davis), for his study of adolescent sexual orientation, risk, and resilience. Dr. Russell will use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the problems of suicide and substance abuse among youth with same-sex attractions and relationships, and to identify the factors that enable so many youths with same-sex orientations to successfully negotiate adolescence without significant risks.

Prof. Nilanjana Dasgupta (Department of Psychology, New School University) for her study of implicit and explicit sexual prejudice. In this pilot study, Dr. Dasgupta will examine the validity of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in assessing antigay prejudice.



Prof. Janet Swim (Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University), for her proposed study of the daily experiences that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have with "heterosexist hassles." Heterosexist hassles are mundane comments or behaviors that reflect or communicate hostile, denigrating, or stigmatizing attitudes and beliefs about gay, lesbian, or bisexual individuals. Using a daily diary methodology that has been employed in research on daily hassles among other groups, her study will compare differences between the impact of heterosexist and nonheterosexist hassles on appraisals, coping responses, and psychological well-being.

Dr. Perry N. Halkitis (Department of Applied Psychology, New York University), for his study of the culture and contexts of methamphetamine use among gay and bisexual men in New York City. Methamphetamine abuse appears to be a growing problem among gay men in urban settings and is often related to unsafe sexual practices and increased risk for HIV transmission. Dr. Halkitis' study will provide important descriptive data with the ultimate goal of developing an intervention to reduce methamphetamine use in this population.



Dr. Donald P. Haider-Markel (Department of Political Science, University of Kansas), for his study of local implementation and enforcement of hate crime laws, with a special emphasis on laws that include hate crimes based on sexual orientation. The Placek Award will enable him to collect data on hate crime enforcement from criminal justice agencies, to interview law enforcement officials and anti-violence activists, and to collect archival data.



Prof. Kim Bartholomew (Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University), for her proposed study of violence and abuse in gay intimate relationships. The Placek Award will enable her to collect prevalence information about domestic violence among gay men from an urban probability sample and, guided by attachment theory, to identify the sources and psychological consequences of male-male domestic abuse through in-depth interviews.

Prof. Ewa Golebiowska and Prof. Cynthia Thomsen (Departments of Political Science and Psychology, Tufts University), for their proposed study of factors that influence voters' responses to lesbian and gay candidates for political office. The Placek Award will permit them to conduct a series of community-based experimental studies to assess the impact of multiple variables relevant to voter impressions of a candidate's sexual orientation.



Dr. Joanne DiPlacido (Health Psychology Program, Graduate Center, City University of New York), for her proposed study to test a newly developed theoretical model of stress and coping among lesbians. The Placek Award will permit her to collect data from an ethnically diverse sample of lesbians and bisexual women in New York City concerning their experiences with societal stigma and prejudice, coping responses, and psychological well-being.

Prof. Belle Rose Ragins (Department of Management, Marquette University), for her proposed study of workplace experiences of heterosexism among gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. The Placek Award will enable her to conduct a national survey with a large, racially diverse sample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.






Prof. M.V. Lee Badgett (Department of Economics, University of Maryland), for her proposed study of the impact of negative societal attitudes on the earnings and occupations of lesbians and gay men. The Placek Award will permit her to examine this problem using the two best available data sets based on national probability samples that included assessment of respondents' sexual orientation, occupation, income, and other relevant variables.

Prof. Joshua Gamson (Department of Sociology, Yale University), for his proposed study of the depictions of lesbians and gay men on television talk shows. The Placek Award will permit him to conduct content analyses to document the ways in which television talk shows (perhaps the principal venue in which lesbians and gay men appear in mass media) depict gay people, and to conduct interviews with talk-show producers and guests to document the process through which these portrayals are created. This study formed the basis for Professor Gamson's 1998 book, Freaks Talk Back.

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