The primary goal of this K08 award is to further develop a productive independent research career in drug abuse research. The training and career development plan will enhance Dr. Stevens-Watkins's research experience in primary data collection with prisoners focused on drug use, mental health, and HIV thus resulting in the clarification of the specific aims of an R01 submission in years 4 and 5. The proposed training objectives are: (1) to receive training in the epidemiology of drug abuse, mental health, and HIV as they relate to health disparities among African Americans;(2) to further develop expertise in research with special populations, biostatistics, and advanced quantitative analyses including non-linear, categorical models, and structural equation modeling;(3) to use the data collected in the proposed research plan as pilot data for an R01 research proposal. The specified training goals are aligned with the research aims and compliment the clinical experience of the candidate. Dr. Stevens-Watkins will be sponsored by her established mentors, Drs. Carl Leukefeld and Carrie Oser, both with expertise in drug abuse and HIV research. Of high significance, HIV has recently been termed a """"""""crisis"""""""" in the African American community. The overall goal of the proposed research plan is to better understand the complex and dynamic relationship between drug use, mental health, and HIV risk among African American male prisoners nearing community re-entry.
The specific aims are (1) to explore drug use, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and HIV risk behaviors among African American male inmates by conducting a thorough literature review and devising an analytical model using biostatics multivariate analytic techniques with available data;(2) to identify prevalence, incidence, and predictors of drug use disorders, anxiety, depressive disorders and HIV sexual risk behaviors among 205 incarcerated African American men;(3) to examine the knowledge, patterns, and perceived cultural and community barriers to utilizing individual and health resources and their relationship to substance abuse recovery and HIV risk behaviors among 205 African American men upon release from prison. Baseline data will be collected in prison and follow-up data collection will occur when participants have been released in the community after 3-months. The proposed research plan will offer HIV testing and counseling to an at-risk population that has historically been difficult to engage in research and HIV testing, subsequently significantly impacting public health by possibly preventing the spread of HIV. The candidate's immediate career goals include published manuscripts and R01 funding by the end of K08 funding, with an ultimate career goal of becoming an independent clinical drug abuse researcher. This proposal includes an outstanding mentoring team, as well as a feasible training and research plan utilizing resources offered by both Spalding University and the University of Kentucky.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project has significant public health implications for reducing the spread of HIV among the African American community by offering testing and by targeting men exiting prison, re-entering the community. The proposed project will generate an improved understanding of the complex relationship between drug use, mental health, and HIV risk among an at-risk group.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Jones, Dionne
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Spalding University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Fisher, Sycarah; Zapolski, Tamika; Al-Uqdah, Shareefah et al. (2018) Person-Environment Fit, Substance Use Attitudes, and Early Adolescent Substance Use. Subst Use Misuse :1-11
Wheeler, Paris; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle; Knighton, Joi-Sheree' et al. (2018) Pre-Incarceration Rates of Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs among Black Men from Urban Counties. J Urban Health 95:444-453
Mahaffey, Carlos C; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle; Leukefeld, Carl (2018) Life After: Examining the Relationship Between Sociobehavioral Factors and Mental Health Among African American Ex-Offenders. Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol 62:3873-3889
Knighton, Joi-Sheree'; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle; Staton, Michele et al. (2018) Trends and mental health correlates of nonmedical opioid use among criminal justice-involved African American men. Addict Behav 85:14-20
Arsenault, Chelsea E; Fisher, Sycarah; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle et al. (2018) The Indirect Effect of Ethnic Identity on Marijuana Use Through School Engagement: An African American High School Sample. Subst Use Misuse 53:1444-1453
Crowell, Candice; Mosley, Della V; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle (2017) Studying Sex: A Content Analysis of Sexuality Research in Counseling Psychology. Couns Psychol 45:528-546
Oser, Carrie B; Pullen, Erin; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle et al. (2017) African American women and sexually transmitted infections: The contextual influence of unbalanced sex ratios and individual risk behaviors. J Drug Issues 47:543-561
Crowell, Candice; Mosley, Della; Falconer, Jameca et al. (2017) Black Lives Matter: A Call to Action for Counseling Psychology Leaders. Couns Psychol 45:873-901
Knighton, Joi-Sheree'; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle; Oser, Carrie et al. (2016) Perceived Risk of HIV Infection Among Drug-Using African American Male Prisoners: One Year After Community Re-entry. Subst Use Misuse 51:1610-1618
Mahaffey, Carlos; Stevens-Watkins, Danelle; Knighton, Joi-Sheree' (2016) Psychosocial Determinants of Health among Incarcerated Black Women: A Systematic Literature Review. J Health Care Poor Underserved 27:45-70

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