Buffie Longmire-Avital and India Johnson present at the 2016 Association for Women in Psychology conference, March 3 – 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Assistant professors of psychology, Buffie Longmire-Avital and India Johnson each presented their research as part of the Featured Feminist Science Symposia Series: A Look at Current Issues Facing Black Women through a Psychological Lens at the 41st Annual Association for Women in Psychology Conference, “Strong Girls and Wise Women.”    

“I Asked for the Papers”: How Emerging Adult Black Women Request Sexual Health Information. Longmire-Avital’s study examined the timing and strategies for requesting partner disclosure of sexual health history used by 127 emerging adult heterosexually-active Black women recruited through online social networking sites and blogs to participate in this mixed-methods online survey. Using a grounded theory approach, two themes emerged regarding how women asked their partners to disclose sexual health information. Women either used a “blunt” and direct approach or engaged in joint discloser. Women who did not request this information stated fear, assumption of partner general health or casual relationship as reasons. A strong relationship between partner status (serious or casual) and request for sexual health information was also found. The emerging adult women who reported that their partner was serious (i.e., exclusive) were more likely to request sexual health information (66%) than the women who identified their partner to be casual (33%).

Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM): One Size Does Not Fit All. Johnson and assistant professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Eva Pietri, examined the impact of role models on increasing women of color’s interest in science, technology and engineering (STEM) professions. Black women were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk), and asked to imagine working for a fictitious science company. Participants were randomly assigned to view the profile of a Black woman, Black man, White woman successful scientist, or no scientist and participants’ reported their sense of belonging at the company.  Relative to no scientist, the Black woman profile increased belonging, whereas the Black man and White woman did not. The boost in belonging was strongest among participants who felt highly identified with Black women.