Julianna Deardorff, Professor

Closed (1) Early adversity shapes adolescent risk behavior trajectories in Mexican Americans

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

The current project uses the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) cohort which consists of 625 Mexican American families living in the Salinas Valley in California. Approximately half of the children have been followed since they were in utero, and the other half has been followed since they were 9 years old. We are currently collecting data on these children, now age 14, to assess how adversity (including neighborhood conditions, poverty, pesticide exposure) gets “under the skin.” For example, we examine how pubertal processes (clinic-based Tanner staging, hormones), and stress physiological responses including autonomic nervous system (ANS) and hypothalamus-pituitary axis (HPA) responses to socially evaluative stressors, are impacted by neighborhood-level adversity (e.g., physical disorder, crime), and thus, how this impacts mental health, substance abuse, and sexual risk for these adolescents. We also examine how key family and cultural factors help mitigate some of the risks imparted by early adversity.

Please visit the CHAMACOS webpage on the website of the Center for Environmental Research & Children’s Health for more information regarding the CHAMACOS cohort (link below).

We are hoping to take on two students for this current academic year.

1) Task: Help clean and enter physiological data.

1) Learning outcomes: Become familiar with the use of autonomic nervous system (such as heart rate) data and stress hormones (such as cortisol) data in research on adolescent health outcomes.

2) Task: Help collect and enter neighborhood-level data (e.g., Census data) for all participants in the study.

2) Learning outcomes: Learn how to collect U.S. Census data; understand the contributions of neighborhood effects to adolescent health outcomes.

3) Task: Help enter and clean other study data (e.g., mental health scales) through the use of statistical software.

3) Learning outcomes: First-hand experience in managing research data through the use of statistical software; training in use of statistical software; contributor to a multidisciplinary research project.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: William Martinez, Ph.D., Post-Doc

Qualifications: 1) Ability to work independently (required) 2) Interest in quantitative social science methods (required) 3) Reliability in completing assigned workload tasks on time (required) 4) Experience with Excel and/or statistics software such as SPSS or STATA (desirable) 5) Interest in early childhood adversity including neighborhood conditions, poverty, and/or environmental hazards (desirable) 6) Interest in adolescent health, particularly adolescent health issues affecting Latino adolescents (desirable) 7) Interest in working with physiological data including heart rate and stress hormones (desirable) 8) Desire to pursue graduate school in public health or allied fields such as clinical psychology, sociology, epidemiology, medicine, etc. (desirable) Students in public health, psychology, and allied fields are especially welcome. ***Please note in your application if you are fluent in a language other than English.***

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: 1995 University Ave.

Related website: http://cerch.org/research-programs/chamacos/
Related website: http://sph.berkeley.edu/julianna-deardorff

Closed (2) A Qualitative Exploration of Minority Stress and Psychosocial Resources among Trans, Genderqueer and Non-Binary Adolescents

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

This study explores minority stressors and psychosocial resources among trans, genderqueer and non-binary adolescents between the ages of 16-20. The study uses innovative qualitative visual methods, including “lifeline” narratives and photo elicitation, to explore participant experiences of stigma and discrimination, as well as the factors that they identify as protective against stigma and discrimination, such as social support, community resources and safe spaces. A better understanding of the lived experiences of trans*, genderqueer and non-binary adolescents and the processes that promote resilience will facilitate the development of more affirming and inclusive school-based, clinical and community interventions for this population.

This study will utilize in-depth interviews with 20-24 adolescents who live in the SF Bay Area and New York City. Half of the interviews (10-12) will be conducted with adolescents who identify in the gender binary and half (10-12) who identify as genderqueer or non-binary. Two interviews will be conducted with each participant. During the first interview, participants create “lifelines,” which are visual depictions of their life history that display significant events in chronological order. At the end of the first interview, participants will be given prompts and asked to take photos that correspond to the major themes explored in the study (such as representations of safe spaces or forms of resilience). Participants return 2-3 weeks later with their photos, which are used to guide the second photo elicitation interview.

The data collection for this study is being completed this summer. We are currently looking for two interns who can assist with the coding and analysis of the qualitative interviews.


1) Task: Review and code verbal interview transcripts for themes based on theoretical framework and interpretive phenomenological approach, and write analytic memos
1) Learning outcomes: First-hand experience as a qualitative coder and contributor on a qualitative research project; training in qualitative analysis

2) Task: Review verbal transcripts with accompanying audio interviews and photographs
2) Learning outcomes: Training in qualitative data cleaning and data management; exposure to qualitative interview process and techniques



Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Kelly Johnson, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: 1) Ability to work independently (required) 2) Interest in qualitative social science methods (required) 3) Reliability in completing assigned workload tasks on time (required) 4) Comfort with gender and sexuality health topics (required) 5) Experience with qualitative methods, qualitative analysis, or completion of a qualitative research methods course (desirable) 6) Interest in adolescent health, particularly adolescent health issues of trans, genderqueer and non-binary adolescents (desirable) 7) Desire to pursue graduate school in social science field, such as anthropology, sociology, clinical psychology, public health, etc. (desirable) **Students in Anthropology, Sociology, LGBT Studies, and Gender and Women’s studies are especially welcome**

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs