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., Sullivan, T. J., Feinstein, B. A., & Newcomb, M. E. (in press). Young gay and bisexual men’s stigma experiences and mental health: An 8-year longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology.
- Pachankis, J. E. & Bränström, R. (in press). Hidden from happiness: Structural stigma, sexual orientation concealment, and life satisfaction across 28 countries. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
- Pachankis, J. E., Sullivan, T. J., & Moore, N. F. (in press). A 7-year longitudinal study of sexual minority young men's parental relationships and mental health. Journal of Family Psychology.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Wang, K., Burton, C. L., Crawford, F. W., Phelan, J. C., & Link, B. G. (in press). The burden of stigma on health and wellbeing: A taxonomy of concealment, course, disruptiveness, aesthetics, origin, and peril across 93 stigmas. Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Berg, R., Fernandez-Davila, P., Mirandola M., Weatherburn, P., Marcus, U., & Schmidt, A. J. (2017). Anti-LGBT and anti-immigrant structural stigma: An intersectional analysis of sexual minority men’s HIV risk when migrating to or within Europe. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (JAIDS), 76, 356-366.
- Pachankis, J. E., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Mirandola M., Weatherburn, P., Berg, R., Marcus, U., & Schmidt, A. J. (2017). The geography of sexual orientation: Structural stigma and sexual identity, behavior, and attraction among men who have sex with men across 38 countries. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 1491-1502.
- 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., & 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
- Pachankis JE, Bränström R: Hidden from happiness: Structural stigma, sexual orientation concealment, and life satisfaction across 28 countries. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2018 May. PMID: 29683698
- Wang K, Burton CL, Pachankis JE: Depression and Substance Use: Towards the Development of an Emotion Regulation Model of Stigma Coping. Subst Use Misuse. 2018 Apr 16; 2017 Nov 10. PMID: 29125383
- Rendina HJ, López-Matos J, Wang K, Pachankis JE, Parsons JT: The Role of Self-Conscious Emotions in the Sexual Health of Gay and Bisexual Men: Psychometric Properties and Theoretical Validation of the Sexual Shame and Pride Scale. J Sex Res. 2018 Apr 10; 2018 Apr 10. PMID: 29634377
- Pachankis JE, Sullivan TJ, Feinstein BA, Newcomb ME: Young adult gay and bisexual men's stigma experiences and mental health: An 8-year longitudinal study. Dev Psychol. 2018 Apr 5; 2018 Apr 5. PMID: 29620387
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Wang K, Burton CL, Crawford FW, Phelan JC, Link BG: The Burden of Stigma on Health and Well-Being: A Taxonomy of Concealment, Course, Disruptiveness, Aesthetics, Origin, and Peril Across 93 Stigmas. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2018 Apr; 2017 Dec 31. PMID: 29290150
- Bränström R, Pachankis JE: Sexual orientation disparities in the co-occurrence of substance use and psychological distress: a national population-based study (2008-2015). Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2018 Apr; 2018 Feb 15. PMID: 29450600
- Hughto JMW, Reisner SL, Kershaw TS, Altice FL, Biello KB, Mimiaga MJ, Garofalo R, Kuhns LM, Pachankis JE: A multisite, longitudinal study of risk factors for incarceration and impact on mental health and substance use among young transgender women in the USA. J Public Health (Oxf). 2018 Feb 21; 2018 Feb 21. PMID: 29474682
- Wang K, Merin A, Rendina HJ, Pachankis JE: Genital herpes stigma: Toward the Measurement and Validation of a highly prevalent yet hidden public health problem. Stigma Health. 2018 Feb; 2016 Nov 10. PMID: 29629409
- Pachankis JE, Hatzenbuehler ML, Berg RC, Fernández-Dávila P, Mirandola M, Marcus U, Weatherburn P, Schmidt AJ: Anti-LGBT and Anti-immigrant Structural Stigma: An Intersectional Analysis of Sexual Minority Men's HIV Risk When Migrating to or Within Europe. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2017 Dec 1. PMID: 28787329
- White Hughto JM, Clark KA, Altice FL, Reisner SL, Kershaw TS, Pachankis JE: Improving correctional healthcare providers' ability to care for transgender patients: Development and evaluation of a theory-driven cultural and clinical competence intervention. Soc Sci Med. 2017 Dec; 2017 Oct 30. PMID: 29096945
- Clark KA, White Hughto JM, Pachankis JE: "What's the right thing to do?" Correctional healthcare providers' knowledge, attitudes and experiences caring for transgender inmates. Soc Sci Med. 2017 Nov; 2017 Oct 5. PMID: 29028559
- Mirandola M, Gios L, Sherriff N, Pachankis J, Toskin I, Ferrer L, Dias S, Velicko I, Staneková D, Caplinskas S, Naseva E, Niedźwiedzka-Stadnik M, Sialon II Network.: Socio-demographic Characteristics, Sexual and Test-Seeking Behaviours Amongst Men Who have Sex with Both Men and Women: Results from a Bio-behavioural Survey in 13 European Cities. AIDS Behav. 2017 Oct. PMID: 28643241
- Lelutiu-Weinberger C, Pachankis JE: Acceptability and Preliminary Efficacy of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender-Affirmative Mental Health Practice Training in a Highly Stigmatizing National Context. LGBT Health. 2017 Oct; 2017 Sep 11. PMID: 28891750
- 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 Sep; 2017 Feb 13. PMID: 28276925
- Chaudoir SR, Wang K, Pachankis JE: What reduces sexual minority stress? A review of the intervention "toolkit". J Soc Issues. 2017 Sep; 2017 Sep 21. PMID: 29170566
- 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. 2017 Jul; 2016 Sep 12. PMID: 27620320
- White Hughto JM, Rose AJ, Pachankis JE, Reisner SL: Barriers to Gender Transition-Related Healthcare: Identifying Underserved Transgender Adults in Massachusetts. Transgend Health. 2017; 2017 Jul 1. PMID: 29082331
- 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
- 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
- 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, Rendina HJ, Restar A, Ventuneac A, Grov C, Parsons JT: A minority stress--emotion regulation model of sexual compulsivity among highly sexually active gay and bisexual men. Health Psychol. 2015 Aug; 2014 Dec 22. PMID: 25528179
- Lelutiu-Weinberger C, Pachankis JE, Gamarel KE, Surace A, Golub SA, Parsons JT: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Efficacy of a Live-Chat Social Media Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jul. PMID: 25256808
- 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
- Pachankis JE, Lelutiu-Weinberger C, Golub SA, Parsons JT: Developing an online health intervention for young gay and bisexual men. AIDS Behav. 2013 Nov. PMID: 23673791
- Pachankis JE, Buttenwieser IG, Bernstein LB, Bayles DO: A longitudinal, mixed methods study of sexual position identity, behavior, and fantasies among young sexual minority men. Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Oct; 2013 Apr 19. PMID: 23605572
- Lelutiu-Weinberger C, Pachankis JE, Golub SA, Walker JJ, Bamonte AJ, Parsons JT: Age cohort differences in the effects of gay-related stigma, anxiety and identification with the gay community on sexual risk and substance use. AIDS Behav. 2013 Jan. PMID: 22038078
- Hatzenbuehler ML, Pachankis JE, Wolff J: Religious climate and health risk behaviors in sexual minority youths: a population-based study. Am J Public Health. 2012 Apr; 2012 Feb 16. PMID: 22397347
- Pachankis JE, Westmaas JL, Dougherty LR: The influence of sexual orientation and masculinity on young men's tobacco smoking. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2011 Apr. PMID: 21443320
- Merin A, Pachankis JE: The psychological impact of genital herpes stigma. J Health Psychol. 2011 Jan; 2010 Jul 23. PMID: 20656766
- Pachankis JE, Goldfried MR: Expressive writing for gay-related stress: psychosocial benefits and mechanisms underlying improvement. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2010 Feb. PMID: 20099955
- Pachankis JE, Goldfried MR, Ramrattan ME: Extension of the rejection sensitivity construct to the interpersonal functioning of gay men. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Apr. PMID: 18377126
- Pachankis JE, Goldfried MR: On the next generation of process research. Clin Psychol Rev. 2007 Jul; 2007 Jan 19. PMID: 17316940
- Pachankis JE: The psychological implications of concealing a stigma: a cognitive-affective-behavioral model. Psychol Bull. 2007 Mar. PMID: 17338603
- Pachankis JE, Goldfried MR: Social anxiety in young gay men. J Anxiety Disord. 2006; 2006 Feb 24. PMID: 16500074