Ryan J. Watson

Assistant Professor


CURRICULUM VITAE

My program of research is focused on reducing health disparities among sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth and young adults. Motivated by the urgent need to reduce the inequities in health for vulnerable populations, I have focused my scholarship on SGM youth and young adults, their relationships within family and school contexts, and their health experiences. Working with National Science Foundation support as an early career scholar, I employed quantitative techniques using large non-probability and representative datasets to better understand the mechanisms that drive well-documented injustices in health, school, and community experiences for SGM individuals. This work was completed in the US, Norway, and Canada. As a faculty member at UConn, I have extended these experiences to focus on the health (in particular, substance use and disordered eating) among SGM adolescents (funded by NIH, R03DA046827) and emerging adults. My research utilizes data from my LGBTQ+ National Teen Survey, where I partnered with Dr. Puhl and the Human Rights Campaign to collect data from 17,000+ SGM youth aged 13-17 from across the United States. My research has been featured on CNN, NPR, Washington Post, Live Science, USA Today, and several other media outlets. My current program of research (funded by NIH, K01DA047918) focuses on preventing health disparities (e.g., HIV) through prevention and intervention strategies (e.g., PrEP) attune to intersectionality. I have leadership roles in the Society of Research on Adolescence and I am a consulting editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, LGBT Health, and AIDS & Behavior. I am accepting graduate students and invite any prospective students to contact me with questions.

 

Education

Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 2015-2016
Ph.D., Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona, 2014
M.S., Family Studies and Human Development, University of Arizona, 2012
B.A., Psychology, Political Science, UCLA, 2009

 

Professional Interests

  • Sexual/Gender Minority Youth and Young Adult Health
  • Sexual Health, HIV Prevention
  • Family Acceptance and Rejection
  • Intersections of Family, School, and Sexuality
  • Hooking Up among Sexual/Gender Minorities

 

Active Research Funding

Principal Investigator, “PrEP and substance use among sexual minority young adults”

K01DA047918; National Institutes of Health—NIDA, Career Development Award

Duration: 4/1/2019 – 3/31/2024; Total: $952,225

 

Principal Investigator, SGM youth substance use: Subgroup differences and protective factors”     

R03DA046827;  National Institutes of Health—NIDA, R03

Duration: 9/15/2019–8/31/2021; Total: $182,051

 

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications (2018 – present)

  *undergraduate, **graduate, and ***postdoctoral students working with Watson at time of publication

Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., **McKay, T., **Allen, S., Eaton, L., & Puhl, R. (2020). Substance use among a national sample of sexual and gender minority adolescents: Intersections of sex assigned at birth and gender identity. LGBT Health, 7, 37-46. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2019.0066

Watson, R.J., Eaton, L., ***Maksut, J., ***Rucinski, K., & Earnshaw, V. (2020). Links between sexual orientation and disclosure among Black MSM: Sexual orientation and disclosure matter for PrEP awareness. AIDS and Behavior, 24, 29-34. doi:10.1007/s10461-019-02696-1

Watson, R.J., **Park, M., ***Taylor, A.B., Fish, J.N., Corliss, H.L., Eisenberg, M.E., & Saewyc, E. (2020). Associations between community-level LGBTQ supportive factors and substance use among sexual minority adolescents. LGBT Health, 7, 82-89doi:10.1089/lgbt.2019.0205

Watson, R.J., Wheldon, C., & Puhl, R.M. (2020). Evidence of diverse identities in a large national sample of sexual and gender minority adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 30, 431-442. doi:10.1111/jora.12488

**McKay, T., & Watson, R.J. (2020). Gender expansive youth disclosure and mental health: Clinical implications of gender identity disclosure. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 7, 66-75. doi:10.1037/sgd0000354

***Lessard, L., Puhl, R., & Watson, R.J. (2020). Gay−straight Alliances: A mechanism of health risk reduction among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 59, 196-203. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.02.020 56.

***Lessard, L., Puhl, R., & Watson, R.J. (2020). Bias-based bullying and school adjustment among sexual and gender minority adolescents: The role of gay-straight alliances. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 1094-1109. doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01205-1

Eisenberg, M. E., Puhl, R., & Watson, R. J. (2020). Family Weight Teasing, LGBTQ Attitudes, and Well-being Among LGBTQ Adolescents. Family & Community Health, 43, 17-25. doi:10.1097/FCH.0000000000000239

Eisenberg, M., Erickson D., Gower, A., Kne, L, Watson, R.J., Corliss, H.L., & Saewyc, E.S. (2020). Supportive community resources are associated with lower risk of substance use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning adolescents in Minnesota. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 836-848. doi:10.1007/s10964-019-01100-4. doi:11007/s10964-019-01100-4

***Rucinski, K., Eaton, L., Learner, E., Watson, R.J., ***Maksut, J., & Earnshaw, V. (2020). Transactional sex and incident chlamydia and gonorrhea among Black men who have sex with men in Atlanta. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 47, 355-360. doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001168 54.

Earnshaw, V., Eaton, L., Collier, Z., Watson, R.J., ***Maksut, J., ***Rucinski, K., & Kelly, J. (2020). HIV stigma and substance use problems: Identifying associations and pathways. AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 34, 275-280. doi:10.1089/apc.2020.0021 53.

Fish, J.N., Russell, B.S., Watson, R.J., & Russell, S.T. (2020). Adolescent same-sex attraction effects on alcohol abuse in adulthood: The mediating influence of adolescent parent-child relationship quality. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 2034–2046. doi:10.1007/s10964-020-01299-7

Eaton, L.A., **Allen, A., **Maksut, J., Earnshaw, V., Watson, R.J., & Kalichman, S. (2020). HIV microaggressions: A novel measure of stigma-related experiences among people living with HIV. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 34-43. doi:10.1007/s10865-019-00064-x

Eisenberg, M. E., Gower, A., Watson, R.J., Porta, C.M., & Saewyc, E. (2020). LGBTQ youth-serving organizations: What do they offer and do they protect against emotional distress? Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, 1, 63-79. doi:10.1891/LGBTQ-2019-0008

Saewyc, E. Li, G., Gower, A., Watson, R.J., Erickson, D., Corliss, H., & Eisenberg, M. (2020). The link between LGBTQ-supportive communities, progressive political climate, and suicidality among sexual minority adolescents in Canada. Preventive Medicine, 139, 106191. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106191

Eaton, L., Watson, R.J., ***Maksut, J., **Rucinski, K., ***Berman, M., & Earnshaw, V. (2020). Elevated consequences of targeted HIV prevention among Black men who have sex with men. Prevention Science, 21, 917-925. doi:10.1007/s11121-020-01135-1

Gamarel, K., Watson, R.J., **Mouzoon, R.L., Fleischer, N.L., Wheldon, C.W., & Fish, J. N. (2020). Experiences of violence, family rejection, and cigarette smoking among sexual and gender minority adolescents in the United States. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 27, 179-187. doi:10.1007/s12529-019-09846-8

Miller, K., Watson, R.J., & Eisenberg, M.E. (2020). The intersection of family acceptance and religion on the mental health of LGBTQ youth. Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, 1, 27-42. doi:10.1891/LGBTQ.2019-0005

Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., Poteat, P.V., & **Rathus, T. (2019). Sexual and gender minority youth alcohol use: Within-group differences in associations with internalized stigma and victimization. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48, 2403-2417.doi:10.1007/s10964-019-01130-y

Watson, R.J., Rose, H., Doull, M., Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (2019). Worsening perceptions of family connectedness and parent support for lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28, 3121-3131. doi:10.1007/s10826-019-01489-3

Puhl, R., ***Himmelstein, M., & Watson, R.J. (2019). Weight-based victimization among sexual minority adolescents: Implications for mental health and substance use. Health Psychology, 38, 727-37. doi:10.1037/hea0000758

Watson, R.J., *Shahin, Y., & Arbeit, M. (2019). Hookup initiation and emotional outcomes differ across LGB young men and women. Sexualities, 22, 932–50. doi:10.1177/1363460718774528

Watson, R.J., Veale, J., Gordon, A., Clark, B., & Saewyc, E. (2019). Risk and protective factors for transgender youth’s substance use. Preventive Medicine Reports, 15, 100905. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100905

***Himmelstein, M., Puhl, R., & Watson, R.J. (2019). Weight-based victimization, eating behaviors, and weight-related health in SGM adolescents. Appetite, 141, 104321. doi:10.​1016/​j.​appet.​2019.​104321

Puhl, R.M., ***Himmelstein, M., & Watson, R.J. (2019). Weight-based victimization among sexual and gender minority adolescents: Findings from a diverse national sample. Pediatric Obesity, 14, e12514. doi:10.1111/ijpo.12514

**Greenspan, S., Griffith, C., & Watson, R. J. (2019). LGBTQ+ youth’s physical activity engagement: A comprehensive content analysis. Adolescent Research Review, 4, 169-85. doi:10.1007/s40894-019-00110-4

Wheldon, C.W., Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., & Gamarel, K. (2019). Cigarette smoking among youth at the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT Health, 6, 235-41. doi:10.1089/ lgbt.2019.0005

**Murchison, G., Agénor, M., Reisner, S., & Watson, R.J. (2019). School restroom/locker rooms restrictions and sexual assault risk among transgender youth. Pediatrics, 143, doi:10.1542/peds.2018-2902

Watson, R.J., **Allen, A., Pollitt, A., & Eaton, L. (2019). Risk and protective factors for sexual health among bisexual men: Internalized heterosexism, sexual orientation disclosure, and religiosity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 48, 243-53. doi:10.1007/s10508-018-1216-5

Li, G., Wu, A., Marshall, S., Watson, R.J., Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (2019). Investigating site-level longitudinal effects of population health interventions: Gay Straight Alliances and school safety. Social Science & Medicine Population Health, 7, 100350. doi:10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100350

Fish, J. N., Watson, R. J., Gahagan, J., Porta, C. M., Beaulieu-Prévost, D., & Russell, S. T. (2019). Smoking behaviors among heterosexual and sexual minority youth? Findings from 15 years of provincially-representative data. Drug and Alcohol Review, 38,101-10. doi:10.1111/dar.12880

Watson, R.J., Grossman, A.H., & Russell, S.T. (2019). Sources of social support and mental health among LGB youth. Youth & Society, 51, 30-48. doi:10.1177/0044118X16660110

Eaton, L., Earnshaw, V., **Maksut, J., Thorson, K., Watson, R.J., & Bauermeister, J. (2018). Experiences of stigma and health care engagement among Black MSM newly diagnosed with HIV/STI. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 458-66. doi:10.1007/s10965-018-9922-y

Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., **Allen, A., & Eaton, L. (2018). Sexual identity disclosure and awareness of HIV prevention methods among Black men who have sex with men. Journal of Sex Research, 55, 975-83. doi:10.1080/00224499.2017.1375452

Watson, R.J., VanKim, N., Rose, H., Porta, C.M., Gahagan, J., &, Eisenberg, M. (2018). Unhealthy weight control behaviors among youth: Sex of sexual partner is linked to troubling differences. Eating Disorders, 26, 448-63. doi:11080/10640266.2018.1453633

Watson, R.J., Goodenow, C., Porta, C.M., Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (2018). Substance use among sexual minorities: Has it actually gotten better? Substance Use & Misuse, 53, 1221-28. doi:10.1080/10826084. 2017.1400563

Doull, M., Watson, R.J., Smith, A., Homma, Y., & Saewyc, E. (2018). Are we leveling the playing field? Trends in sports participation among sexual minority youth. Journal of Sports and Health Science, 7, 218-26. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2016.10.006

Porta, C.M., Watson, R.J., Doull, M., Eisenberg, M., Grumdahl, N., & Saewyc, E. (2018). Trend disparities in emotional distress and suicidality among sexual minority and heterosexual Minnesota adolescents from 1998 to 2010. Journal of School Health, 88, 605-14. doi:10.1111/josh.12650

Watson, R.J., Peter, T., **McKay, T., Edkins, T., & Saewyc, E. (2018). Evidence of changing patterns in mental health and depressive symptoms for sexual minority adolescents. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 22, 120-38. doi:10.1080/19359705.2018.1427646

Watson, R.J., Lewis, N., Fish, J., & Goodenow, C. (2018). Sexual minority youth continue to smoke cigarettes earlier and more often than heterosexual peers: Findings from population-based data. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 183, 64-70. doi:10.​1016/​j.​drugalcdep.​2017.​11.​025

In Press Articles

**Caputi, T.L., Shover, C.L., & Watson, R.J. (in press). Physical and sexual violence among U.S. gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning adolescents. JAMA Pediatrics. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.6291

***Berman, M., Eaton, L., Watson, R.J., Andrepont, J., & Kalichman, S. (in press). Social distancing measures as a result of stigma among people living with HIV. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. doi: 10.1093/abm/kaaa074

***Maksut, J., Eaton, L., **Driver, R., **Knowles, C., & Watson, R.J. (in press). Factors associated with awareness and use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among Black men who have sex with men with a recent STI diagnosis. Behavioral Medicine.

**Feldman, S., Watson, R.J., & **Gallik, C. (in press). College aspirations, gender sexuality alliances, and teacher support among diverse LGBTQ youth. Educational Review. doi:10.1080/00131911.2020.1816907 4.

Gower, A.L., Watson, R.J., Erikson, D.J., Saewyc, E.M., & Eisenberg, M.E. (in press). LGBQ youth’s experiences of general and bias-based bullying victimization: The buffering role of supportive school and community environments. International Journal of Bullying Prevention. doi:10.1007/s42380-020-00065-4

Gower, A.L., Valdez, C.B., Watson, R.J., Eisenberg, M. E., Mehus, C.J., Saewyc, E.M., Corliss, H.L., Sullivan, R., & Porta, C.M. (in press). First- and second-hand experiences of enacted stigma among LGBTQ youth. Journal of School Nursing, Online Early View, 1-10. doi:10.1177/1059840519863094

 

Recent Presentations (2018-present)

Watson, R.J., Eaton, L., ***Maksut, J., ***Ricinski, K., & Earnshaw, V. (April, 2020). Sexual orientation and identity disclosure: Implications for PrEP and substance use experiences among Black men who have sex with men. Poster accepted to the Society of Behavioral Medicine conference, San Francisco, CA.

Gamarel, K., Watson, R.J., **Mouzoon, R.L., Wheldon, C.W., Fish, J.N., & Fleischer, N. (March, 2020). Family rejection and cigarette smoking among sexual and gender minority youth. Paper accepted to the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco conference, New Orleans, LA.

Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., Poteat, V.P., & **Rathus, T. (March, 2020). Alcohol use and heavy episodic drinking among diverse groups of SGM youth in the United States. Paper accepted to the Society of Research on Adolescence conference, San Diego, CA.

*Miranda, M., Snapp, S., & Watson, R.J. (March, 2020). How do LGBTQ youth protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections during hookups? Mentored student poster accepted to the Society of Research on Adolescence conference, San Diego, CA.

**McKay, T. & Watson, R.J. (March, 2020). Depression, sexual orientation disclosure, and therapist/counselor presence among sexual and gender minority youth. Mentored student paper accepted to the Society of Research on Adolescence conference, San Diego, CA.

**Rathus, T. & Watson, R.J. (March, 2020). Parental socioeconomic status as a predictor of psychological outcomes among LGBTQ youth. Mentored student paper accepted to the Society of Research on Adolescence conference, San Diego, CA.

Eisenberg, M., Gower, A., Watson, R.J., Porta, C., & Saewyc, E. (March, 2020). LGBTQ youth-serving organizations: What do they offer and do they protect against emotional distress among LGBQ youth? Paper presentation accepted to the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine conference, San Diego, CA.

Saewyc, E., Watson, R.J., Park, M., Taylor, A., Fish, J., & Eisenberg, M. (March, 2020). Supportive communities are linked to lower substance use risk among sexual minority adolescents in western Canada. Poster presentation accepted to the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine conference, San Diego, CA.

**Gallik, C., & Watson, R.J. (November, 2019). Examining the relationship between minority stress experiences and feelings of self-worth in transgender youth. Mentored student poster presentation at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies conference, Atlanta, GA.

Fish, J.N., Russell, B., Watson, R.J., & Russell, S.T. (November, 2019). Prospective associations between adolescent same-sex attraction, parent-child relationship quality, and alcohol abuse in adulthood. Paper presentation at the National Council on Family Relations, Fort Worth, TX.

Watson, R.J., Eaton, L., Fish, J.N., & Poteat, V.P. (October, 2019). Internalized stigma’s link to alcohol use in a US national sample of LGBTQ youth. Poster presentation at Together Against Stigma conference, Singapore.

Eaton, L., Watson, R.J., **Maksut, J., Rucinski, K., & Earnshaw, V. (October, 2019). Rethinking stigma focused messaging for HIV testing uptake among Black gay/bisexual men. Poster presentation at Together Against Stigma conference, Singapore.

Miller, K., Watson R.J., & Eisenberg, M. (October, 2019). Intersection of family acceptance and religion on the mental health of LGBTQ youth. Poster presentation at American Academy of Pediatrics, New Orleans.

Jaffee, K., Takrani, A. & Watson, R.J. (October, 2019). Social predictors of health status among transgender and gender non-conforming youth. Paper presentation at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference.

Eaton, L., **Maksut, J., & Watson, R.J. (July, 2019). Stigma barriers to HIV testing among Black same gender loving men: An unaddressed challenge impacting the PrEP care cascade. Paper presentation at the AIDS Impact conference, London, UK.

**Maksut, J., Eaton, L., & Watson, R.J. (July, 2019). Depressive symptoms as a predictor of HIV seroconversion among young adult African-American/Black men and transgender women who have sex with men in the Southeastern United States. Poster presentation at the International AIDS Society, Mexico City.

Grzanka, P. R., Watson, R. J., & Spengler, E. S. (June, 2019). Structural intersectional and LGBTQ youth: A person-centered approach. Paper presentation at the annual conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, San Diego, CA.

Wheldon, C.W., Watson, R.J., Fish, J.N., & Gamarel, K. (March, 2019). Cigarette smoking among youth at the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity.Poster presented at the Society for Behavioral Medicine, Washington, DC.

Saewyc, E.M., Wu, A., Marshall, S., Li, G., Watson, R.J., & Adjei, J. (March, 2019). Long-term effects of Gay Straight Alliances on perceived school safety among LGB youth in Western Canada, using a novel analytical method. Paper presented at the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Washington DC.

Watson, R.J., Wheldon, C.W., & Puhl, R. (March, 2019). Diverse identities in a national sample of sexual and gender minority youth.Paper presented at the Society for Research on Child Development, Baltimore.

Pollitt, A., Fish, J., & Watson, R.J.(March, 2019). Being out matters for the measurement equivalence of family acceptance and rejection among LGBTQ+ youth.Paper presented at the Society for Research on Child Development, Baltimore.

Watson, R.J., & Miranda, L. (November, 2018). Important variabilities in lived experiences among a racially diverse large national sample of transgender youth in the United States. Poster presented at the annual World Professional Association for Transgender Health meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Watson, R.J. (November, 2018). Transgender youth: Health and resiliency. Invited moderator at the annual World Professional Association for Transgender Health meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

**Gallik, C., **McKay, T., & Watson, R.J. (November, 2018). Examining the relationship between minority stress experiences and depression symptoms in transgender youth. Mentored student paper presented at the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapists meeting in Washington DC.

**Greenspan, S., Griffith, C., & Watson, R.J. (August, 2018). A comprehensive content analysis of LGBTQ adolescents’ experiences in sports: A follow-up study. Mentored student poster presented at the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

**Allen, A., Watson, R.J., & Eaton, L. (April, 2018). To be or not to be religious: How religiosity is associated with sexual health among Black bisexual men. Mentored student presentation at the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Atlanta, GA.

 *Luna, J., *Moreno, V., *Procopio, M., *Clark, N., *Covarrubias, J., *Gonzalez, S., *Nhial, N., Snapp, S., & Watson, R.J. (April, 2018). How does the use of dating and hookup applications influence the sexual health choices of LGB people? Poster presented at the Society of Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, MN.

*Clark, N., *Nhial, N., *Gonzalez, S., *Covarrubias, J., *Luna, J., *Moreno, V., *Procopio, M., Snapp, S., & Watson, R.J. (April, 2018). Does it stop at sexual gratification? Hookup motives of LGB late adolescents. Poster presented at the Society of Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, MN.

Saewyc, E., Li, G, Gower, A., Watson, R.J., Erickson, D., Corliss, H., & Eisenberg, M. (April, 2018). LGBTQ-supportive community environments predict lower suicidality and emotional distress among sexual minority youth in Canada. Paper presented at the Society of Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, MN.

Watson, R.J., Snapp, S., & **Wang, S. (April, 2018). Hookups among sexual minority populations: A review and new research agenda. Paper presented at the Society of Research on Adolescence, Minneapolis, MN.

Watson, R.J. (April, 2018). Substance use among transgender youth: Risk and protective factors from probability profiles. Paper and symposium chair presented at the Society of Research on Adolescence, MN.

**McKay, T., & Watson, R.J. (April, 2018). Mental health issues among LGB school students in Canada. Poster presented at the American Educational Research Association conference, New York, NY.

Watson, R.J., & Miranda, L. (January, 2018). Results from the 2017 HRC/UCONN LGBTQ+ Teen National Survey. Workshop and talk given at the annual Human Rights Campaign conference, Orlando, FL.

Ryan J. Watson
Contact Information
Emailryan.j.watson@uconn.edu
Phone860-486-1659
Mailing Address348 Mansfield Rd U1058 Storrs, CT, 06269
Office LocationFSB 335