Previous Research

30-Year Sexual Offender Recidivism Study

Rebecca Swinburne Romine, PhD, was the principal investigator for this retrospective study of participants in Sexual Offender treatment at the Program in Human Sexuality. For over thirty years, PHS has provided treatment to over 700 individuals. The size of this sample allowed for descriptive analysis not generally possible for community-based treatment programs. This study examined the characteristics of the individuals seen in this program and explored survival rates. Analysis was focused on predicting re-offense for non-contact offenders. Michael Miner, PhD, and S. Margretta Dwyer, MA, also worked on this project

All Gender Health Online

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and consisted of two parts. The first part investigated the characteristics and sexual behavior of male partners of transgender women and men. The second part, incorporated findings from part one into the evaluation of an online intervention to prevent the spread of HIV and promote the sexual health of transgender people as well as the population at large.

Walter Bockting, PhD, was the principal investigator; the project researchers included Bean Robinson, PhD, Jamie Feldman, MD, PhD, Michael Miner, PhD, Eli Coleman, PhD, Chris Hoefer (project coordinator), Alex Iantaffi (project coordinator), Cesar Gonzalez, PhD, Rebecca Swinburne Romine, PhD, Stephanie Hengst, Melinda Marsolek, Keith Horvath, PhD (epidemiology), David Valentine, PhD (anthropology), and Jeremy Grey, PhD (research assistant). In September 2009, this study received a grant supplement to develop a virtual coach to personalize prevention messages for participants during the online intervention. This supplemental funding also enhances the research team by enabling the addition of Aaron Doering, PhD, and Charles Miller, PhD (curriculum and instruction). The study was conducted 2007-2012.

All Gender Health: Seminars for Minnesota's Transgender Community

Walter Bockting, PhD, was the lead investigator of this innovative HIV/STI prevention education program that addressed transgender-specific risks in the context of comprehensive sexuality education. The project was funded as part of a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health. Two weekend seminars were held. As part of this intervention program, a DVD of the transgender coming out process was produced entitled Transgender Stories.

GLBT Twin Cities Cancer Screening Survey

In an effort to identify barriers to health screening in the GLBT community, Eli Coleman, PhD, advised medical students in a research study that looked at the rate of cancer screening, specifically at the rates of cervical, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults living in Minnesota. The research team included Cory Jaques, Paul Bechard, Rachael Blackman, Rebecca Swinburne Romine, PhD, and Eli Coleman, PhD.

Minnesota Community Promise/Plus

Bean Robinson, PhD, was the lead investigator for Minnesota Community PROMISE/PLUS, a research project that was a collaboration between the Minneapolis Urban League and the Program in Human Sexuality. The goal of the project was to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through encouraging African American men who have sex with men to use condoms and build healthy lives through a program in which men reach out to their community, friends, and family using stories about how they made changes to start practicing safer sex.

Minnesota Outreach Programs

The following programs, funded through the MN Department of Health and other agencies, were developed for persons or communities at high risk for HIV/STI.

  • All Gender Health (Walter Bockting, PhD, principal investigator) For transgender persons and their partners.
  • Beyond (Walter Bockting, PhD, principal investigator) For women who have sex with or are attracted to women and men. Participants learned about sex, identity, and sexuality. Sponsors: Chrysalis Center for Women, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and South Dakota, and University Family Physicians-North Memorial Clinic.
  • Man-to-Man: Sexual Health Seminars (Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH, principal investigator) For men who have sex with, or are attracted to, other men. Over 500 participants attended these seminars, designed to assist men to explore and enhance their sexual health, examining such issues as talking about sex, sexual attitudes, attractions, and behaviors, same sex relationships, intimacy, spirituality, aging, and living with HIV.
  • Our Sexual Health For gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender persons, their families, and friends.
  • SHARE For African American women, men, and couples.
  • Women's Initiative for Sexual Health (WISH) (Bean Robinson, PhD, principal investigator) For women at highest risk for HIV. Free two-day seminar was among the first in the nation to present sexual health education to women from a woman's perspective. Provided a place for women to explore and celebrate healthy sexuality and relationships; topics were body image, positive sexuality, anatomy and physiology, barriers to health sexuality, African American culture and sexuality, touch masturbation, sexual health care and fantasy, sexuality and spirituality.

Multi-State Recidivism Study Using Static-99 and Static-2002 Risk Scores and Tier Guidlines from the Adam Walsh Act

Michael Miner, PhD, was a co-principal investigator of this study which was funded by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice. This study was the first comprehensive investigation of risk assessment procedures and their predictive validity with samples of American sex offenders. The principal aim of this study was to examine how well the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) classification categories predict sexual offender recidivism compared with the Static-99, an actuarial risk assessment instrument.

Additional study goals included using Static-99 scores to further examine the risk distribution of Tier III (high risk) offenders as defined by the AWA, determining whether other extant classification schemes accurately predict recidivism, and determining whether type of notification (e.g. aggressive, passive, Internet) is related to recidivism. Finally, extensive examination of the degree to which sex offense recidivism varies with offender age was conducted.

Study data was collected from five states including Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Florida, and South Carolina. It is expected that this research will inform policy development and implementation and ultimately lead to improved community protection.

Research Programs Conducted Through HIV/STI Intervention and Prevention Studies

  • Rapid HIV Testing Funded by CDC. Studied whether rapid result technology positively affects the number of high-risk individuals who receive their test outcomes.
  • Internet Sex Among Latino Men Funded by NIH. Examined how sexual liaisons mediated via the Internet impact the risk behavior in this minority population.
  • Gender, HIV Risk, and Transgender Persons Funded by NIH. Examined how gender identity and roles impact HIV risk behavior. First national study of transgender persons' risk for HIV.
  • Cara a Cara Funded by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization and the United States Mexico Border Health Association. A five-day course provided HIV prevention workers information on prevention approaches, cultural sensitivity, counseling and assessment skills, and scientific data regarding prevention.
  • Evaluation of Women's Initiative for Sexual Health (WISH). (Bean Robinson, PhD, principal investigator) 320 African-American women evaluated the WISH program.
  • The Minnesota 500 Men's Study (Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH, principal investigator) Funded by CDC. Evaluated the Man-to-Man program and a video film targeting gay men. Focused on safer sex patterns and internalized homophobia.
  • Transgender HIV Prevention (Walter Bockting, PhD, principal investigator) Funded by AmFAR. Workshop addressed transgender specific HIV risk factors, safer sex, and sexual negotiation in a transgender sensitive and affirmative context.
  • HIV Mental Health Counseling (Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH, principal investigator) Funded by Hennepin County Community Health and the Minnesota Department of Health, AIDS/STD Prevention Services Section under Ryan White CARE Act. Free mental health counseling to persons living with HIV/AIDS, their spouses, and families.

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.

Sexuality and Aging

This pilot research project on sexuality, mindfulness, and the body in “individuals of a certain age.” The goal of this project was to gather baseline qualitative and quantitative data on sexual functioning, sexual satisfaction, mindfulness skills, interest in mindfulness, and general quality of life. Sara Mize, PhD, and Alex Iantaffi, PhD, are co-investigators on this project funded through the Sexuality and Aging Research fund at the University of Minnesota Foundation. This research was presented to the public in the form of a play. No Expiration Date: Sexuality & Aging is a theatrical interpretation of the qualitative data from these focus groups. The play was scripted by Pangea World Theater’s Executive/Literary Director Meena Natarajan.

Somali Women's Initiative for Sexual Health

This study was 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 were conducted in either English or Somali by the project's bilingual Somali staff who recruited participants through personal contacts as well as from Somali gathering places.

The project was funded by the University’s Program in Health Disparities Research, the University’s IDEA Multicultural Research Award, and the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s UCare Fund. The information gathered from this study is used to secure additional funding to further study the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to HIV/STD transmission and prevention within the Somali community. Ultimately, the group will translate this knowledge to develop the first HIV counseling and testing intervention for Somali women.

The study researchers include Bean Robinson, PhD, principal investigator; Amira Ahmed, BA, founder and executive director at Midwest Community Development Inc.; Jennifer Connor, PhD, co-investigator; Shanda Hunt, BA, project coordinator; Fatah Ahmed, BA, interviewer and recruiter; and Meyran Omar, translator.

 Study results in English

Study results in Somali