Research Projects

Out in School: How Teacher Practices and School Policies Mitigate Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression Disparities in School Safety and Experiences with Violence and Bullying-Victimization (2022-present)

PI: Dr. Laura Baams, Co-applicants: Prof. dr. René Veenstra, Dr. Rozemarijn van der Ploeg (University of Groningen)

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) students are more likely to experience violence and bullying-victimization, and to feel unsafe than heterosexual, cisgender students, in secondary (12-18 years
old) and vocational schools (16+ years old). These disparities may be buffered by teacher practices and school policies. However, existing research on SGM students has three vital shortcomings:

(1) It disregards improvement in social acceptance of sexual and gender diversity.
(2) It pays insufficient attention to the role of teacher practices in addressing sexual and gender
diversity in class.
(3) It neglects potentially protective school policies and how they correspond to SOGIE-disparities.

Countering these limitations, we combine student-reports of perceived school safety, violence, and bullying-victimization with teacher-reports of practices and administrator-reports of school policies to
answer our central research question: How large are differences between SGM and heterosexual, cis gender students in perceptions of school safety, violence, and bullying-victimization in Dutch schools, how have they changed over time, and how can they be reduced through teacher practices and school policies? With three part-projects, we move from individual student experiences to teacher perspectives, and then examine these associations in interaction with school-wide policies in both secondary and vocational education. Using a combination of rich mixed-method existing and new data as well as cutting-edge statistical techniques we examine links between teacher practices and school policies and disparities in perceived school safety, violence, and bullying-victimization from multiple perspectives. This deepens our understanding of teachers’ role in addressing sexual and gender diversity and school policies in reducing disparities.

Funded by The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO)

Being Bi+ Experiences and Wellbeing of Bi+ Individuals in the Netherlands (2020-2021)

PI: Dr. Laura Baams (University of Groningen)
Applicants: Dr. Diana van Bergen (University of Groningen), Dr. Hanneke de Graaf, Dr. Marianne Cense (Rutgers), Dr. Emiel Maliepaard (Atria). Co-applicants: Prof. dr. Henny Bos (University of Amsterdam), John de Wit (Utrecht University), Kai Jonas (Maastricht University), Chantal den Daas (University of Aberdeen)

There is great variation among bi+ people in sexual attraction, behaviors, and relationships. In this research project, we examine bi+ people’s experiences and wellbeing. A survey among bi+ youth and adults (16-55 years old) will focus on experiences with minority stress, monosexism, and links with mental health and substance use, while an interview study will focus on bi+ adults’ (34-41 years old) experiences with social norms, stigma, relationships, and family.

Report about the survey

Funded by Bi+ Nederland.

Not straight? Sexual orientation disparities in macro and micro-processes of youth victimization and mental health (2018-present). 

PI: Dr. Laura Baams

University of Groningen

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth report poorer mental health (depression, suicidality) and are victimized more often than heterosexual youth. How can this be explained? Using survey- and daily-diary studies, I will research sexual orientation disparities, critical mechanisms, and whether a positive school climate can help improve mental health.

Funded by the Dutch Research Council (Veni)

Thriving under stress: Understanding what makes lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents susceptible and resilient to minority stress (2018-2022).

PhD candidate: Wouter Kiekens; Supervisors: Prof. dr. René Veenstra, Dr. Jan Kornelis Dijkstra, & Dr. Laura Baams.

University of Groningen

In this project Wouter Kiekens investigate differences in mental health and substance use of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents. He focuses on susceptibility and resilience to the impact of minority stress on mental health and substance use, extending knowledge on how LGB adolescents are affected by minority stress using innovative methods. Specifically, he examines (1) the association between minority stress and mental health and substance use using experience sampling; and the roles of (2) rejection sensitivity and (3) social support using vignettes and ego networks. Understanding within and between-group differences helps to provide better support for these vulnerable youth.

Preventing suicidality among Dutch Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)
youth through a web-based intervention addressing suicidality in relation to sexual
and gender identity issues (2017-2022). 

PhD candidate: Jennifer de Lange; PIs: Dr. Diana van Bergen & Dr. Laura Baams

University of Groningen

In this research project we study the efficacy of an online intervention aimed at decreasing suicidality among LGBT youth.

Funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development

The role of SOGI-focused school policies, programs, and practices on student well-being SOGI: Health & Rights Lab (2016-present)

University of Texas at Austin

Risk and protective factors for suicide among sexual minority youth SOGI: Health & Rights Lab (2016-present)

University of Texas at Austin

When being different becomes the norm (PIs: Prof. dr. Marcel van Aken en Prof. dr. Rosemarie Buikema) (2014-2016)

This research project brings together developmental psychology and gender studies and examines how individual, peer, and media-influences impact LGBT youth. We focus on 14-22 year old youth who identify across all sexual orientations. We have formulated several multi-method studies, and each addresses a specific element in the effect of microaggressions. Together, these projects form a unique combination of studies, in which microaggressions and well-being can be studied from different angles but with the same goals.

Colleagues involved in the data-collection:
Tessa Kaufman
Jasmijn van Engelen
Funded by Dynamics of Youth, Utrecht University

Project STARS (PIs: Prof. dr. Maja Dekovic, Prof. dr. Marcel van Aken, Prof. dr. Tom ter Bogt, Prof. dr. Paul van Geert) (2010-2015)

Project STARS is a large-scale, national, longitudinal research project on pubertal development, love, romantic relationships, and sexuality among adolescents. The goal of Project STARS was to investigate romantic and sexual development trajectories of adolescents in The Netherlands. The influence of individual characteristics, the proximal (nearby) social context, and the media on this development were also investigated. Data was collected from 1,200 adolescents aged 11 to 15 years, from various cultural/ethnic backgrounds and from different educational levels. Participating adolescents were followed up for 18 months, and completed four sets of questionnaires. In addition, subsamples of adolescents were invited to participate in one of the small-scale in-depth studies, such as an interview study or a diary study.
Colleagues involved in the Project STARS research: Dr. Daphne van de BongardtDr. Suzan Doornwaard, and Dr. Wieke Dalenberg
Funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Fund for Scientific Research of Sexuality (FWOS)

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