My research focuses on cancer prevention and control, health communication, and policy in LGBTQ+ populations. My research interests include:

  • Applying social ecological, intersectionality, and health theoretical frameworks to topics of LGBTQ+ cancer surveillance and prevention programs of research
  • Deconstructing pathways of health risk and resilience among LGBTQ+ populations, with a focus on sexual health behaviors and information seeking
  • Exploring factors that influence patient-provider interactions in cancer prevention contexts
  • Identifying population-level sexual orientation- and gender identity-based cancer disparities
  • Examining policy-level factors related to public attitudes and health utilization factors involving LGBTQ+ populations


Gender identity disparities in cancer screening behaviors

Tabaac, A. R., Sutter, M. E., Wall, C. S. J., & Baker, K. (in press).

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Abstract: Introduction Transgender (trans) and gender-nonconforming adults have reported reduced access to health care because of discrimination and lack of knowledgeable care. This study aimed to contribute to the nascent cancer prevention literature among trans and gender-nonconforming individuals by ascertaining rates of breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening behaviors by gender identity. Methods Publicly available de-identified data from the 2014–2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys were utilized to evaluate rates of cancer screenings by gender identity, while controlling for healthcare access, sociodemographics, and survey year. Analyses were conducted in 2017. Results Weighted chi-square tests identified significant differences in the proportion of cancer screening behaviors by gender identity among lifetime colorectal cancer screenings, Pap tests, prostate-specific antigen tests, discussing prostate-specific antigen test advantages/disadvantages with their healthcare provider, and up-to-date colorectal cancer screenings and Pap tests (p < 0.036). Weighted logistic regressions found that although some differences based on gender identity were fully explained by covariates, trans women had reduced odds of having up-to-date colorectal cancer screenings compared to cisgender (cis) men (AOR=0.20) and cis women (AOR=0.24), whereas trans men were more likely to ever receive a sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy as compared to cis men (AOR=2.76) and cis women (AOR=2.65). Trans women were more likely than cis men to have up-to-date prostate-specific antigen tests (AOR=3.19). Finally, trans men and gender-nonconforming individuals had reduced odds of lifetime Pap tests versus cis women (AOR=0.14 and 0.08, respectively), and gender-nonconforming individuals had lower odds of discussing prostate-specific antigen tests than cis men (AOR=0.09; all p < 0.05). Conclusions The findings indicate that gender identity disparities in cancer screenings persist beyond known sociodemographic and healthcare factors. It is critical that gender identity questions are included in cancer and other health-related surveillance systems to create knowledge to better inform healthcare practitioners and policymakers of appropriate screenings for trans and gender-nonconforming individuals.

DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.11.009

Click here to access the publication.


Multiple mediational model of outness, social support, mental health, and wellness behavior in ethnically diverse lesbian, bisexual, and queer women

Tabaac, A. R., Perrin, P. B., & Trujillo, M. A. (2015).

LGBT Health

Abstract: A growing body of research has begun to examine wellness behaviors in sexual minority women. While a number of constructs have been associated with wellness behaviors in this population, including outness, social support, and mental health, no research has attempted to forge the specific and unique connections among them. The aim of the current study was to construct a theoretical chain among these variables leading to wellness behaviors among an ethnically diverse sample of sexual minority women. A sample of 150 ethnically diverse, cisgender women identifying as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or an “other” non-heterosexual sexual orientation completed a web-administered national survey. Scales assessed participants’ outness, social support, mental health, and wellness behaviors. In a series of simultaneous, multiple regressions, outness to one’s family was positively associated with wellness behavior and social support; social support from one’s family and friends was positively associated with mental health; and depression was negatively associated with wellness behaviors. Two multiple mediational models generally suggested a cascading influence of outness to one’s family on wellness behaviors through social support from one’s family and depression. The study is one of the first to find potentially cascading links among personal, social, and mental health variables with health behaviors in a sample of diverse lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women. It thereby illuminates a number of potential targets for health promotion interventions in this population.

DOI: 10.1089/lgbt.2014.0110

Click here to access the publication.

Discrimination, mental health, and body image among transgender and gender-non-binary individuals: Constructing a multiple mediational path model

Tabaac, A. R., Perrin, P. B., & Benotsch, E. G. (2017).

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services

Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationships among discrimination, mental health, and body image in a national sample of transgender adults. Participants (N = 78) identified as transgender, genderqueer, or other gender-non-binary identities and were recruited via a national online survey. Harassment/rejection, work/school, and other discrimination explained 10.4% of the variance in body appreciation, while satisfaction with life, anxiety, self-esteem, and depression explained 60.7%. Within these models, harassment/rejection was inversely associated with body appreciation, while self-esteem and satisfaction with life were positively associated. A series of path models moving from a measurement model to a more parsimonious and excellent-fitting model found that the effect of harassment/rejection on body appreciation was fully mediated by self-esteem and satisfaction with life, resulting in a multiple mediation.

DOI: 10.1080/10538720.2017.1408514

Click here to access the publication.



(Doctoral dissertation) Queer health equity and cervical cancer: Identifying social determinants of health that influence Papanicolaou test uptake in a sample of sexual minority women and gender nonbinary individuals

Status: Recruitment and data collection

Same gender attraction, sexual health communication, and sexual health of college undergraduates

Status: Data analysis

Tweeting #LGBT health: A content analysis of organizational messages

Status: Data analysis

Abstract: Lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LGBT) people often face barriers to culturally competent health care and accurate health information for a multitude of reasons, ranging from lack of sexual orientation disclosure to lack of knowledge from providers. With the growing rates of Internet access and use, social media can play an important role in the proliferation of LGBT health information. The purpose of the present study is to examine the engagement patterns of Twitter users with LGBT health information. Method: In a quantitative content analysis, a random sample of 2,200 tweets sent by five popular LGBT health information Twitter accounts (10% of the total sent over the lifetime of these accounts) are analyzed, focusing specifically on the type of information included and the frequency of retweets, favorites, and direct replies. Further analyses on the public’s engagement with LGBT health issues through this platform are based on the Health Belief Model. Results: The study will provide a first analysis focused on the communications practices and tweet content of LGBT health focused Twitter accounts, and on how Twitter users respond to these messages. This will provide valuable insights for public health professionals and health communication specialists who work with the LGBT community. Conclusion: Findings from this study carry important implications for public health engagement with LGBT Twitter users. Identifying aspects of health messages that reach wider online audiences can assist in health outreach to a traditionally difficult-to-access population.