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BIMOR: Bisexual Individuals in Mixed Orientation Relationships

“Mixed orientation relationships” happen when the sexual orientations of people in a relationship do not match. Because we know very little about how this dynamic can impact both individual and overall relational health, the aim of this project is to gather baseline data on bisexual individuals’ relationship health, sexual functioning, minority stress experiences, and general psychological well-being. Jennifer A. Vencill, PhD is the principal investigator of this study funded by the American Institute of Bisexuality.

Compulsive Sexual Behavior and HIV Risk

Michael Miner, PhD, is the principal investigator on a grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) to study sexual compulsivity. The aim of this grant it to gather the empirical data needed to clarify the characteristics of sexual compulsivity and how it leads to increased levels of HIV sexual risk behavior. This is the first investigation to explore underlying factors drawn from the various conceptualizations of sexual compulsivity and will advance the understanding of this theoretical construct.

Compulsive Sexual Behavior Research

Eli Coleman, PhD, is the principal investigator for these research projects focused on better defining, diagnosing, and treating compulsive sexual behavior. Two of these studies are designed to examine the evidence for validity and reliability for the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Inventory (CSBI).

Roots of Sexual Abuse

Michael Miner, PhD, is the lead investigator of this CDC-funded study. The study will apply attachment theory to identify the unique and shared risk factors for adolescents perpetrating child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and other non-sexual internalizing problems. It is a multi-method, cross-sectional study of 300 adolescent males who have sexually abused children, sexually assaulted peers or adults, and committed non-contact sexual, or have mental health issues but no history of illegal sexual behavior.

Participants are recruited from agencies in both urban and rural Minnesota. Data is collected through available records, interviews, and a computer-administered questionnaire.

Data collection was completed in late 2010 and the team is analyzing data and preparing a number of manuscripts for publication. The team published an important article in the Journal of Sexual Aggression which describes the roles of anti-social behavior and psychopathy traits in perpetration of child sexual abuse and sexual aggression.

Additional researchers on the grant include Dianne Berg, PhD, Bean Robinson, PhD, Morgan Paldron, MA, Angie Lewis-Dmello, and Rebecca Swinburne Romine, MA

Sex Offender Treatment Intervention and Progress Scale (SOTIPS) Implementation Evaluation Project

Michael Miner, PhD, is the principal investigator of this study funded by the National Institutes of Justice of the Department of Justice. The aim of the project is to conduct a rigorous analysis of the utility of a newly developed, dynamic risk factor assessment for sexual offenders, Sex Offender Treatment Intervention and Progress Scale (SOTIPS).

For over a decade, risk detection for sexual offenders has been the domain of static actuarial instruments. By adding dynamic factors to a risk assessment, specifically ones that have been linked to risk of reoffending and are amenable to treatment, has the potential to greatly improve our ability to assess risk, and changes in risk, over time. At the same time, it can improve treatment by systematically tracking progress, and identifying areas for intervention. This project could result in a major step forward in sex offender management, in that we may identify an empirically valid method for tracking changes in risk status. This will allow for a more nuanced strategy toward sex offender management, since intervention intensity could be modified as predicted offender risk changes over time.

Researchers at the PHS will begin working with sex offender treatment and management systems in New York City, NY, and Maricopa County, AZ, to collect data on 500 sexual offenders in treatment at each location, interview directors of treatment programs, and conduct focus groups with treatment providers and probation/parole agents. Follow-up data will assess sexual recidivism, non-sexual violent recidivism, any recidivism, returns to confinement, and violations of conditional release (parole or probation).

Researchers include Michael Miner, PhD; Bean Robinson, PhD, (co-investigator), Chris Hoefer (project coordinator), Cathy Strobel-Ayres, Karl Hanson, PhD, (consultant Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), and David Thornton, PhD (consultant Mauston, Wisconsin).

Somali Women's Initiative for Sexual Health

This study will be the first to examine HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Somali women with the ultimate goal of meeting the critical need to reduce HIV and STD transmission among African-born Americans in Minnesota (and the U.S.) as African-born Americans have the highest HIV/AIDS rates of any ethnic group. Interviews will be conducted in either English or Somali by the project's bilingual Somali staff who will recruit participants through personal contacts as well as from Somali gathering places.