This Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) will provide Dr. Alyssa Norris with the training and research activities needed to become an independent investigator focusing on the development and evaluation of innovative prevention approaches targeting young women?s alcohol use, with a specialized focus in sexual minority populations. Sexual minority women display markedly increased risk for hazardous alcohol use and alcohol consequences. Despite mounting evidence of these alcohol use disparities, there are no tested prevention approaches for sexual minority women. This is unwarranted given that sexual minority women evince unique risk factors for alcohol use and report dissatisfaction with current treatments, as well as that culturally-tailored programming for other minority groups is efficacious. The mentorship and training team includes expert psychologists in the following areas of research: brief interventions for alcohol misuse among young women and vulnerable populations (M. Carey; K. Carey); qualitative methodology to guide intervention development (Guthrie); longitudinal data analyses for clinical trials and latent analysis to guide intervention content (Dunsiger); and alcohol misuse among sexual minority women (Lewis). Further, I will continue to work as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (DPHB) at Brown University and Research Scientist at the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine (CBPM) of The Miriam Hospital. DPHB and CBPM are dedicated to supporting K awardees from the completion of their training award activities to the transition into independent NIH funding. The DPHB currently has over 200 ongoing studies and $50 million in externally sponsored research and is dedicated to supporting early faculty in their transition to independence. Dr. Norris will apply the skills acquired through the proposed training activities to the development of theoretically-sound and evidence-based prevention programming to reduce alcohol misuse among sexual minority women. Specifically, Dr. Norris will develop a prevention program to reduce heavy alcohol use through three aims: (1) Formative needs assessment: (1a) systematic review of theoretical models of sexual minority women?s alcohol use, and (1b) in-depth interviews (N = 20) to guide intervention development through participatory engagement; (2) Refinement of treatment materials and delivery: (2a) secondary data analyses to determine meaningful normative feedback for sexual minority women (Kaysen), and (2b) cognitive interviews (N = 10) to guide the development of the intervention through participatory engagement; (3) Pilot randomized controlled trial (N = 70) comparing the intervention to an attention-matched control group to determine the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention, with a secondary focus on preliminary efficacy to guide future grant proposals.

Public Health Relevance

Heavy alcohol use is a pressing public health issue for young adult women, particularly sexual minority women, and there is a need to develop interventions that can address the integral associations between alcohol use and their experiences of victimization and distress. This project involves the development of a brief motivational intervention to reduce sexual minority women?s heavy drinking. This treatment development will occur through formative qualitative interviews, secondary data analyses, and a randomized pilot trial to determine feasibility and acceptability and to obtain effect size estimates in order to pursue a larger randomized controlled trial.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Initial Review Group (AA)
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Balachova, Tatiana Nikolayevna
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Miriam Hospital
United States
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