Anxiety; Behavioral Sciences; Depression; HIV; Mental Health; Social Behavior; Social Change; Social Conditions; Social Sciences; Behavioral Research; Social Stigma
Please visit esteem.yale.edu to learn more about my research.
Extensive Research Description
I study the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. I am specifically interested in two questions: (1) Why do LGBT people consistently face poorer mental health than the general population? and (2) What structural and individual-level interventions might reduce this disparity? In answering this first question, my research suggests that LGBT people’s exposure to stigma-related stress might explain their poorer mental health. For example, across several studies, I have examined the strategies that some gay and bisexual men use to cope with the stress of concealing their sexual orientation across early development with complex mental health implications. I am also interested in the distinct aspects of sexual minority individuals’ lives compared to heterosexual people’s lives that might further explain sexual orientation disparities in mental health. For example, I have studied the stress and opportunities afforded by young gay and bisexual men’s migration to large cities. I also study sources of stress that seemingly emerge from within the mainstream gay community, but that might ultimately derive from wider homophobia. In this way, I am interested in the particularly hidden and subtle mechanisms through which stigma operates to compromise the health and wellbeing of sexual and gender minority populations. I use social epidemiological, psychological, and mixed methods approaches to conduct this research.
As for the second question: Drawing on my background as a clinical psychologist, one of my primary goals is to translate the results of these formative studies into psychosocial interventions to improve the health of the LGBT community. One of these interventions has shown preliminary evidence for helping young gay and bisexual men cope with early and ongoing stress to reduce their depression, anxiety, substance use, condomless sex, and sexual compulsivity. Its efficacy was established in the first randomized controlled trial of an LGB-affirmative mental health treatment. My collaborative research examines the efficacy of similar LGB-affirmative interventions delivered via novel technologies (e.g., smartphones), in diverse settings (e.g., Eastern Europe), and with diverse segments of the LGBT community (e.g., rural youth). I have a longstanding interest in psychotherapy process research, including determining what psychological interventions work for whom and the reasons explaining why psychological interventions work in the first place.
My research has been featured in national and international media outlets, such as The New York Times and Time. This work has also been cited in several amici curiae briefs in cases related to LGBT stigma and discrimination before state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. I teach an interdisciplinary class called Stigma and Health at the Yale School of Public Health that examines stigma across multiple levels (e.g., societal, psychological) and across numerous stigmatizing conditions and identities to understand stigma’s full impact on population health. Students have taken this course to understand the impact of stigma on the health of many dozens of stigmatized populations. By the end of the course, I think that students fully understand that stigma is a major determinant of population health, while also possessing some optimism about a better way forward through changing social structures and individual behavior in a theoretically and empirically informed way.
The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Fogarty International Center of NIH provide funding for my research.
- Pachankis, J. E., Cochran, S. D., & Mays, V. M. (2015). The mental health of sexual minority adults in and out of the closet: A population-based study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 890-901.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Rendina, H. J., Safren, S. A., & Parsons, J. T. (2015). LGB-affirmative cognitive behavioral therapy for young adult gay and bisexual men: A randomized controlled trial of a transdiagnostic minority stress approach. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 875-889.
- Pachankis, J. E. (2015). A transdiagnostic minority stress pathways approach for treating psychosocial syndemic conditions among gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44, 1843-1860.
- Pachankis, J. E., Rendina, H. J., Restar, A., Ventuneac, A., & Parsons, J. T. (2015). A minority stress—emotion regulation model of sexual compulsivity among highly sexually active gay and bisexual men. Health Psychology, 34, 829–840.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Hickson, F., Weatherburn, P., Berg, R., Marcus, U., & Schmidt, A. J. (2015). Hidden from health: Structural stigma, sexual orientation concealment, and HIV across 38 countries in the European MSM Internet Survey. AIDS, 29, 1239-1246.
- Pachankis, J. E. (2014). Uncovering clinical principles and techniques to address minority stress, mental health, and related health risks among gay and bisexual men. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 21, 313-330.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Starks, T. J. (2014). The influence of structural stigma and rejection sensitivity on young sexual minority men's daily tobacco and alcohol use. Social Science & Medicine, 103, 67-75.
- Pachankis, J.E., Rendina, H. J., Ventuneac, A., Grov, C., & Parsons, J. (2014). The role of maladaptive cognitions in hypersexuality among gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 43, 669-683.
- Pachankis, J.E., Lelutiu-Weinberger, C, Golub, S. A., & Parsons, J.T. (2013). The development of an online risk-reduction intervention for young gay and bisexual men using social networking technology. AIDS and Behavior, 17, 2986-2998.
- Pachankis, J. E., Buttenwieser, I. G., Bernstein, L. B., & Bayles, D. O. (2013). A longitudinal, mixed methods study of sexual position identity, behavior, and fantasies among young sexual minority men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 1242-1253.
- Pachankis, J. E., & Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2013). The social development of contingent self-worth among sexual minority young men: An empirical test of the "Best Little Boy in the World" hypothesis. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35, 176-190.
Full List of PubMed Publications
- Parsons JT, Rendina HJ, Moody RL, Gurung S, Starks TJ, Pachankis JE: Feasibility of an Emotion Regulation Intervention to Improve Mental Health and Reduce HIV Transmission Risk Behaviors for HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men with Sexual Compulsivity. AIDS Behav. 2017 Jun. PMID: 27573858
- White Hughto JM, Pachankis JE, Eldahan AI, Keene DE: "You Can't Just Walk Down the Street and Meet Someone": The Intersection of Social-Sexual Networking Technology, Stigma, and Health Among Gay and Bisexual Men in the Small City. Am J Mens Health. 2017 May; 2016 Nov 23. PMID: 27885147
- Rendina HJ, Gamarel KE, Pachankis JE, Ventuneac A, Grov C, Parsons JT: Extending the Minority Stress Model to Incorporate HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men's Experiences: a Longitudinal Examination of Mental Health and Sexual Risk Behavior. Ann Behav Med. 2017 Apr. PMID: 27502073
- Keene DE, Eldahan AI, White Hughto JM, Pachankis JE: 'The big ole gay express': sexual minority stigma, mobility and health in the small city. Cult Health Sex. 2017 Mar; 2016 Sep 8. PMID: 27604293
- Clark KA, Keene DE, Pachankis JE, Fattal O, Rizk N, Khoshnood K: A qualitative analysis of multi-level barriers to HIV testing among women in Lebanon. Cult Health Sex. 2017 Feb 13; 2017 Feb 13. PMID: 28276925
- Monin JK, Mota N, Levy B, Pachankis J, Pietrzak RH: Older Age Associated with Mental Health Resiliency in Sexual Minority US Veterans. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Jan; 2016 Sep 23. PMID: 27769835
- White Hughto JM, Pachankis JE, Willie TC, Reisner SL: Victimization and depressive symptomology in transgender adults: The mediating role of avoidant coping. J Couns Psychol. 2017 Jan. PMID: 28068130
- Sitkin NA, Pachankis JE: Specialty Choice Among Sexual and Gender Minorities in Medicine: The Role of Specialty Prestige, Perceived Inclusion, and Medical School Climate. LGBT Health. 2016 Dec; 2016 Oct 11. PMID: 27726495
- White Hughto JM, Murchison GR, Clark K, Pachankis JE, Reisner SL: Geographic and Individual Differences in Healthcare Access for U.S. Transgender Adults: A Multilevel Analysis. LGBT Health. 2016 Dec; 2016 Sep 16. PMID: 27636030
- Hatzenbuehler ML, Pachankis JE: Stigma and Minority Stress as Social Determinants of Health Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: Research Evidence and Clinical Implications. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2016 Dec; 2016 Oct 12. PMID: 27865340
- Wang K, Weiss NH, Pachankis JE, Link BG: Emotional Clarity as a Buffer in the Association Between Perceived Mental Illness Stigma and Suicide Risk. Stigma Health. 2016 Nov; 2016 Mar 7. PMID: 28090587
- W Batchelder A, Lounsbury DW, Palma A, Carrico A, Pachankis J, Schoenbaum E, Gonzalez JS: Importance of substance use and violence in psychosocial syndemics among women with and at-risk for HIV. AIDS Care. 2016 Oct; 2016 Apr 25. PMID: 27110841
- Pachankis JE, Eldahan AI, Golub SA: New to New York: Ecological and Psychological Predictors of Health Among Recently Arrived Young Adult Gay and Bisexual Urban Migrants. Ann Behav Med. 2016 Oct. PMID: 27094938
- Reisner SL, White Hughto JM, Gamarel KE, Keuroghlian AS, Mizock L, Pachankis JE: Discriminatory experiences associated with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among transgender adults. J Couns Psychol. 2016 Oct; 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26866637
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Mirandola M, Weatherburn P, Berg RC, Marcus U, Schmidt AJ: The Geography of Sexual Orientation: Structural Stigma and Sexual Attraction, Behavior, and Identity Among Men Who Have Sex with Men Across 38 European Countries. Arch Sex Behav. 2016 Sep 12; 2016 Sep 12. PMID: 27620320
- Millar BM, Wang K, Pachankis JE: The moderating role of internalized homonegativity on the efficacy of LGB-affirmative psychotherapy: Results from a randomized controlled trial with young adult gay and bisexual men. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2016 Jul; 2016 Apr 21. PMID: 27100124
- Bränström R, Hatzenbuehler ML, Pachankis JE, Link BG: Sexual Orientation Disparities in Preventable Disease: A Fundamental Cause Perspective. Am J Public Health. 2016 Jun; 2016 Mar 17. PMID: 26985608
- Wang K, Pachankis JE: Gay-Related Rejection Sensitivity as a Risk Factor for Condomless Sex. AIDS Behav. 2016 Apr. PMID: 26459334
- Bränström R, Hatzenbuehler ML, Pachankis JE: Sexual orientation disparities in physical health: age and gender effects in a population-based study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2016 Feb; 2015 Aug 23. PMID: 26298574
- Eldahan AI, Pachankis JE, Jonathon Rendina H, Ventuneac A, Grov C, Parsons JT: Daily minority stress and affect among gay and bisexual men: A 30-day diary study. J Affect Disord. 2016 Jan 15; 2015 Nov 19. PMID: 26625095
- Wang K, Rendina HJ, Pachankis JE: Looking on the Bright Side of Stigma: How Stress-related Growth Facilitates Adaptive Coping among Gay and Bisexual Men. J Gay Lesbian Ment Health. 2016; 2016 Apr 7. PMID: 27833668
- White Hughto JM, Reisner SL, Pachankis JE: Transgender stigma and health: A critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions. Soc Sci Med. 2015 Dec; 2015 Nov 11. PMID: 26599625
- Pachankis JE: A transdiagnostic minority stress treatment approach for gay and bisexual men's syndemic health conditions. Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Oct; 2015 Jun 30. PMID: 26123065
- Pachankis JE, Cochran SD, Mays VM: The mental health of sexual minority adults in and out of the closet: A population-based study. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2015 Oct; 2015 Aug 17. PMID: 26280492
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Rendina HJ, Safren SA, Parsons JT: LGB-affirmative cognitive-behavioral therapy for young adult gay and bisexual men: A randomized controlled trial of a transdiagnostic minority stress approach. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2015 Oct; 2015 Jul 6. PMID: 26147563
- Ramallo J, Kidder T, Albritton T, Blick G, Pachankis J, Grandelski V, Kershaw T: Exploring Social Networking Technologies as Tools for HIV Prevention for Men Who Have Sex With Men. AIDS Educ Prev. 2015 Aug. PMID: 26241381
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Hickson F, Weatherburn P, Berg RC, Marcus U, Schmidt AJ: Hidden from health: structural stigma, sexual orientation concealment, and HIV across 38 countries in the European MSM Internet Survey. AIDS. 2015 Jun 19. PMID: 26035323
- Pachankis JE: Uncovering Clinical Principles and Techniques to Address Minority Stress, Mental Health, and Related Health Risks Among Gay and Bisexual Men. Clin Psychol (New York). 2014 Dec. PMID: 25554721
- Pachankis JE, Rendina HJ, Ventuneac A, Grov C, Parsons JT: The role of maladaptive cognitions in hypersexuality among highly sexually active gay and bisexual men. Arch Sex Behav. 2014 May; 2014 Feb 21. PMID: 24558123
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Starks TJ: The influence of structural stigma and rejection sensitivity on young sexual minority men's daily tobacco and alcohol use. Soc Sci Med. 2014 Feb. PMID: 24507912
- Proujansky RA, Pachankis JE: Toward Formulating Evidence-Based Principles of LGB-Affirmative Psychotherapy. Pragmat Case Stud Psychother. 2014. PMID: 26617475