Ryan J. Watson

Assistant Professor


CURRICULUM VITAE

I focus my research on sexual and gender identity development in relation to a variety of health outcomes for adolescents and young adults. Working with National Science Foundation support, I have examined large, national, and representative datasets to determine risk and protective factors for vulnerable youth. This work was completed in the US, Norway, and Canada. Additionally, I have documented trends in health behaviors for sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth. 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 and emerging adults. This research has been featured on 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 novel strategies (e.g., PrEP) attune to intersectionality. I am a PI on the LGBTQ+ 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. I have leadership roles in the Society of Research on Adolescence and I am a consulting editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence. 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

 

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

 

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications (2017 – present)

    *undergraduate and **graduate students mentored by Watson

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

Watson, R.J., *Shahin, Y., & Arbeit, M. (in press). Hookup satisfaction and outcomes related to initiation techniques differ across LGB young men and women. Sexualities, Online Early View, 1-19. doi:10.1177/1363460718774528

Puhl, R., Himmelstein, M., & Watson, R.J. (in press). Weight-based victimization among sexual minority adolescents: Implications for mental health and substance use. Health Psychology.

**Greenspan, S., Griffith, C., & Watson, R. J. (accepted). LGBTQ youth’s physical activity engagement: A comprehensive content analysis. Adolescent Research Review.

**Murchison, G., Agénor, M., Reisner, S., & Watson, R.J. (accepted). School restroom/locker rooms restrictions and sexual assault risk among transgender youth. Pediatrics.

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

Earnshaw, V.A., Reed, N.M., Watson, R.J., **Maksut, J.L., **Allen, A.M., & Eaton, L.A. (in press). Intersectional internalized stigma among Black men who have sex with men: A longitudinal analysis spanning HIV/STI diagnosis. Journal of Health Psychology, Online Early View. doi:10.1177/13591053188201

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, 1-8. 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, 101-110. doi:10.1111/dar.12880

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, 243-253. doi:10.1007/s10508-018-1216-5

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

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, 975-983. 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, 448-463. doi:10.1080/10640266.2018.1453633

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, 458-466. doi:10.1007/s10965-018-9922-y

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, 1221-1228. 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, 218-226. 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, 605-614.

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, 1-19. 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

Watson, R.J., Snapp, S., & **Wang, S. (2017). What we know and where to go from here: A review of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth hookup literature. Sex Roles, 77, 801-811. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0831-2

Fish, J.N., Watson, R.J., Russell, S.T., & Saewyc, E. (2017). Are alcohol-related disparities between sexual minority and heterosexual youth decreasing? Addiction, 112, 1931-1941. doi:10.1111/add.13896

Watson, R.J., & Christensen, J. (2017). Big data and student engagement among vulnerable youth: A review. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 18, 23-27. doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.07.004

Mehus, C., Watson, R.J., Porta, C.M., & Eisenberg, M. (2017). Living as an LGBTQ adolescent and a parent’s child. Journal of Family Nursing, 23, 175-200. doi:10.1177/1074840717696924

Watson, R.J., Veale, J., & Saewyc, E. (2017). Disordered eating among transgender youth: Probability profiles from risk and protective factors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 50, 512-522. doi:10.1002/eat.22627

Peter, T., Edkins, T., Watson, R.J., Adjei, J., Homma, Y., & Saewyc, E. (2017). Trends in suicidality among sexual minority and heterosexual students in a Canadian population-based cohort study. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 4, 115-123. doi:10.1037/sgd0000211

Watson, R.J., Adjei, J., Saewyc, E, Homma, Y., & Goodenow, C. (2017). Trends and disparities in disordered eating among heterosexual and sexual minority adolescents. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 50, 22-31. doi:10.1002/eat.22576

Veale, J., Watson, R.J., Peter, T., & Saewyc, E. (2017). Mental health disparities among Canadian transgender youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 60, 44-49. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.09.014

 

Recent Edited Volumes

Watson, R.J. & Veale, J.F. (Eds). (2019). Today’s Transgender Youth. Routledge: New York, NY. ISBN: 978-0-367-20889-9

 

Recent Presentations

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.

Watson, R.J. (November, 2017). Sexual and romantic relationships for sexual minority emerging adults. Invited pre-conference panel member at the annual Emerging Adulthood conference, Washington DC.

Russell, B., Gordon, M., & Watson, R.J. (November, 2017). Associations between adolescent depression and public health concerns in early adulthood: Family influences for sexual minority youth. Poster presented at the National Council of Family Relations, Orlando, FL.

Watson, R.J. (October, 2017). Better understanding transgender health: Multi-method and cross-national investigations into well-being and protective factors. Symposium (chair) at the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health biennial conference, Vancouver, Canada.

Watson, R.J., Veale, J.F., & Saewyc, E. (October, 2017). Protective factors and disordered eating in a national sample of transgender youth. Paper presented at the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health biennial conference, Vancouver, Canada.

Watson, R.J. (April, 2017). An international examination of bullying based on sexual orientation and gender in school: Economics, consequences, and solutions. Symposium discussant at the biennial meeting of the Society of Research on Child Development, Austin, TX.

Mehus, C., Watson, R.J., Eisenberg, M., Corliss, H., & Porta C. (November, 2016). Living as an LGBTQ adolescent and a parent’s child: Examining degrees of overlap. Paper accepted to present at the National Council of Family Relations, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Watson, R.J., Goodenow, C., Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (September, 2016). School bullying among sexual minority youth in Massachusetts. Paper accepted to present at the European Association for Research on Adolescence, Cádiz, Spain.

*Shahin, Y., & Watson, R.J. (March, 2016). Hookup initiation among lesbian, gay and bisexual young adults and associated outcomes. Mentored student poster presented at Making Waves in Psychology, Victoria, BC.

Watson, R.J, Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (March, 2016). Trends in school experiences are linked to the presence and length of gay-straight alliance networks. Symposium chair and paper presented at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.

Watson, R.J, Adjei, J., & Saewyc, E. (March, 2016). There are widening disparities in disordered eating for sexual minorities. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore, MD.

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