Dr. Alexander wrote an article entitled Social Justice, Advocacy, and Early Career Practice for the Psychotherapy Bulletin. She discusses the importance of early career professionals' involvement in social justice movements. Further, she highlights how involvement in advocacy is part of professional ethics in psychology. Check out the article here (or a PDF here).
Dr. Alexander testified for the Colorado House Committee on Public Health Care & Human Services regarding HB 18-1245 aimed at banning practices labeled "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ+ minors, a harmful and practice which is opposed by major professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association. This is the fourth year the bill has been introduced to the Colorado State Legislature and Dr. Alexander's second year testifying about the issue. The bill passed the House Committee in a 7-6 vote, and will reach the House floor soon.
Off to Memphis! Dr. Alexander headed to the annual conference for the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). Her presentation titles included:
- Examination of the confluence model of sexual aggression in college males
- The relationship between childhood poly-victimization and psychopathy in college students
- Competency restoration for adult defendants in different treatment environments: A future direction for research and policy
While at AP-LS, she continued her work on the Teaching, Training, and Careers Committee, as well as the Externally Focused Initiative Committee. This year, APLS President Dr. Eve Brank began this initiative to provide service to the community in which the conference was held. Dr. Alexander assisted in bringing 50 local high schoolers to the conference to attend sessions, attend the plenary about Kalief Browder, and have lunch with graduate students. What a great event!
Dr. Alexander also traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to present at the Virginia Sex Offender Treatment Association (VSOTA) annual conference. She was invited to provide two workshops entitled, Cultural Awareness and Competence in Sex Offender Treatment.
Dr. Alexander and her DU Department of Theatre colleague Dr. Ashley Hamilton were awarded the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) Dean's Award for Interdisciplinary Studies. This funding will allow for a their steering committee to host a consultant for planning a Prison Education Program (PEP) through DU!
Dr. Alexander was also one of 20 faculty members selected for DU's inaugural Public Impact Fellow program. The Public Impact Fellows will receive training, access to workshops, and consultation focused on translating their research for public dissemination. Thus, continuing and supporting Dr. Alexander's commitment to advocacy, outreach, and public policy efforts!
Additionally, Dr. Alexander returned to Wheat Ridge, CO to testify again in front of the City Council regarding a resolution opposing conversion therapy for minors and supporting a statewide ban against conversion therapy for minors. In a 6-1 vote, the City Council voted for the resolution! Finally progress is being made! Dr. Alexander will testify at the State Capitol next week for the state bill regarding the same issue.
Dr. Alexander was interviewed for an article in the Aurora Sentinel about the management, assessment, and treatment of individuals who have been convicted of sexual offenses. The article centers on the need for evidence-based public policy. Read the entire interview here.
Dr. Alexander continues advocating for the protection of LGBTQ+ youth against practices of "conversion therapy." She joined Candidate Brianna Titone and the Jefferson County LGBTQ Caucus to testify at the Wheat Ridge (CO) City Council meeting in order to encourage them to draft a resolution opposing conversion therapy for minors. The Council voted to draft a resolution! We will hear more in a few weeks.
The Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at the University of Denver has launched Redefining Mental Health. The mission is to reduce mental health stigma and engage in outreach in the community to discuss mental health, including eliminating barriers and improving access to care. The first event will be a community conversation with The Honorable Patrick Kennedy on February 22 at the History Colorado Center!
To learn more about Redefining Mental Health and upcoming events, please click here.
Dr. Alexander was accepted into the University of Denver Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL)'s Service Learning Scholars Program. The Scholars Program was designed for professors interested in incorporating community-engagement and service learning into their courses. She participated in a 2-day workshop focused on modifying her current DU courses to incorporate a community-engagement component for her students.
Stay tuned! She has several interdisciplinary projects in the works for 2018!
Dr. Alexander was interviewed by Denverite about street harassment in the Denver community. Approximately 85% of women have experienced street harassment in their lifetime--with 30% having experienced confrontational forms (e.g., being followed in a manner that frightened them). Denverite writer Ashley Dean also notes important issues related to street harassment and violence against LGBTQ+ and non-binary individuals. It's important to combat hypermasculine/toxic masculine attitudes and beliefs to combat identity-based violence.
Dr. Alexander and her students traveled to Kansas City, Missouri to the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) Annual Conference. Dr. Alexander served on the conference planning committee and gave a 3-hour continuing education workshop on cultural awareness and competence in sex offense treatment. Also, several Auburn and DU students participated in the Student Clinical and Data Blitz. Bravo to all involved!
New publication in the Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Johns Hopkins and Auburn University colleagues.
Abstract: Risky sexual behavior (RSB) on college campuses contributes to elevated rates of sexually transmitted infections and sexual assault. Research indicates a positive association between sexual victimization history (SVH) and RSB with alcohol use and sexual sensation seeking as mediators to this association. Hypermasculinity has also been shown to play a moderating role amongst these associations. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to test the associations between RSB, SVH, alcohol use, sexual sensation seeking, and hypermasculinity. A moderated mediation model was run examining the association between SVH and RSB, with alcohol use and sexual sensation seeking tested as mediators of the relationship between SVH and RSB. In addition, hypermasculinity was tested as a moderator of the mediated relationship between SVH and the aforementioned mediator variables. Alcohol use and sexual sensation seeking partially mediated the association between SVH and RSB. Masculinity moderated the association between SVH and RSB via sexual sensation seeking and between SVH and RSB via alcohol use. Individuals with SVH might be at a higher risk for alcohol use and sexual sensation seeking, ultimately increasing their risk for RSB. University policy implications include implementing alcohol use and awareness interventions, strengthening sexual victimization policies, and including screenings for SVH at counseling and medical centers.
New publication in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Johns Hopkins and Auburn University colleagues.
Abstract: Depression, substance use, and impulsivity have been linked to family violence exposure and to the development of violent offending during adolescence. Additionally, the indirect effects associated with these factors may not generalize across different racial/ethnic adolescent populations. The present study tested whether race/ethnicity moderated the mediated relationship between family violence exposure and violent offending, with depression, substance use, and impulsivity as mediators. A sample of 1,359 male adolescents was obtained from a juvenile correctional program. Between-racial/ethnic group comparisons were generally consistent with previous findings. The overall moderated mediation model was significant in predicting violence for both racial/ethnic groups. Different factors influenced violent offending among African Americans and European Americans in the tested model. Futhermore, race/ethnicity moderated the relationship between family violence exposure and impulsivity and substance use. Implications and future directions resolving issues are discussed concerning whether race/ethnicity should be included as a moderator in models of violence.
Continuing her advocacy efforts from earlier this year, Dr. Alexander wrote an article on ethical issues concerning "conversion therapy" for LGBTQ+ and/or gender non-conforming people in the latest Psychotherapy Bulletin. You can read the article here. Dr. Alexander presently serves at Contributing Editor for the Ethics Section of the Psychotherapy Bulletin.
New publication in the Journal of Sexual Aggression. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University colleagues.
Abstract: Intelligence differences exist between sex offenders and non-sex offenders in adult populations, but comparable intelligence differences are not consistently found among juveniles. However, juveniles may differ on measures of intelligence across offence-related variables used to subclassify adults. The purpose of the present study was to determine if between- and within-group differences exist within a sample of 925 juveniles adjudicated for illegal sexual and non-sexual behaviours across offence-related variables. The results suggest that juveniles adjudicated for illegal sexual behaviour outperformed juveniles adjudicated for non-sexual offences on Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) performance, though full-scale intelligence quotient scores for both groups were lower than would be expected in the general population. Unlike adult offenders, juveniles adjudicated for illegal sexual behaviour do not tend to differ on WASI performance across offence-related variables. These results provide additional evidence that these juveniles adjudicated for illegal sexual behaviour are categorically distinct from adults who sexually offend.
Dr. Alexander attended the American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. During the Convention, she received the APA Achievement Award for Early Career Psychologists from the APA Committee for Early Career Psychologists and National Register for Health Service Psychologists. This award is presented to individuals who have shown themselves to be rising stars, with great leadership under their belts and tremendous promise to change psychology for the better.
Dr. Alexander also received the Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research/Practice in the Field of Child Maltreatment from Division 37's (Child and Family Policy) Section on Child Maltreatment.
New publication in the Sexual Abuse. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University student-colleagues.
Abstract: Previous research has found differences in sexual behavior and types of sexual offending by offense category and racial/ethnic group. The present study examined effects of offense category, victim age, and race/ethnicity on sexual behavior. Data from 561 confined adolescents adjudicated for illegal sexual behavior (AISBs) and adolescents adjudicated for illegal nonsexual behavior (AINBs) were included in the present study. A hierarchical multinominal logistic regression was run to test whether sexual experiences and behaviors differentially predicted AINBs, AISBs with child victims, and AISBs with peer/adult victims. Results supported the utility of distinguishing AISBs by victim age. Comparisons between AISBs and AINBs indicated AISBs had more sexual abuse and were more sexually restricted, whereas AINBs reported more sexual behavior, reflecting a finding potentially mirroring sexual development, sexual experiences, and caregiver approaches to discussing sexuality. Over 60% of AINBs and 30% of AISBs reported behaviors that could be classified as distribution of child pornography. Within the group of AISBs, select racial/ethnic group differences emerged such that European American participants were more likely to have had intrafamilial sexual experiences and were far less likely to have had vaginal intercourse than African American AISBs. Future directions and implications regarding policies related to sexual education and sexting are discussed.
Dr. Alexander traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to present at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress at the Faculty of Law at Charles University. Her presentation was entitled Intelligence in juveniles with illegal behaviors: A comparison of juveniles sex offenders and juvenile delinquents, which the lab hopes to be published soon! She also took some time to tour the gorgeous city!
New publication in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University colleagues as part of Megan Harrelson's thesis.
Abstract: The current study examined the relationship among self-disclosure of illegal sexual behaviors and two conceptually relevant constructs in psychotherapy: childhood polyvictimization (i.e., cumulative types of victimization experienced during childhood) and caregiver attachment. Participants consisted of 63 adolescent males participating in mandated treatment for illegal sexual behavior. Childhood polyvictimization and caregiver attachment were expected to predict self-disclosure of illegal sexual behaviors. Quality of caregiver attachment was also expected to mediate the relationship between polyvictimization and disclosure. Consistent with our main hypothesis, results indicate that quality of caregiver attachment mediated the relationship between childhood polyvictimization and self-disclosure of illegal sexual behaviors in psychotherapy. The current findings highlight the impact of polyvictimization on important therapeutic processes as well as the importance of assessing for multiple types of victimization in adolescents who engage in illegal sexual behavior. Further clinical implications regarding the use of trauma-informed approaches during sex offender treatment are discussed.
Yes, Comic Con! Bridging psychological research and pop culture.
Dr. Alexander and two DU alumni (Zack Lomuto and Katherine Miller) presented at Denver Comic Con! There presentation was entitled, That Could Be Me!: Diversity, Inclusivity, and Representation in the Media. The panel discussed problematic themes of hyper-masculinity, stereotypical behavior of minority groups, over-sexualization, and emphasis on traditional gender roles in comics and their associated media. The presentation also highlighted the importance of appropriate representation and inclusivity.
And no, Dr. Alexander did not cosplay this year. ;)
New publication in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University colleagues.
Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that jurors place greater weight on DNA or other types of forensic evidence than non-forensic evidence (Cole & Dioso-Villa, 2009). For cases involving child sexual abuse, certain types of evidence, including forensic medical evidence, may be viewed as more important or indicative of abuse than other types of evidence, such as victim statements or disclosure. The present study evaluated perceptions of juvenile offenders and victim credibility across four vignettes that systematically manipulated variables related to victim age and physical indicators of abuse. A sample of 636 participants read vignettes and answered questions pertaining to the vignette. Participants also provided demographic information and responded to a series of items assessing participants' judicial decision-making strategies and outcomes. Broadly, the presence of medical evidence significantly influenced participants' decision-making across a variety of variables, including verdict outcome, verdict confidence, confidence that the victim was truthful, and determinations involving sex offender registration and notification requirements. The influence of medical evidence and victim age on perceptions and sentencing of juvenile sex offenders across these and additional outcome variables will be discussed.