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New study links low ‘Pride Index’ score to ‘intimate partner violence’

Researchers won’t share data or answer questions about about the study and its conclusions

A new study purports to find a link between colleges with a high “Pride Index” and lower rates of “intimate partner violence.”

However, the authors of the study did not respond to requests for comment on the study’s findings and clarifications on its conclusions.

The study, funded with money from the National Science Foundation, interviewed “more than 11,000 students and 4,000 faculty, staff, and administrators at 18 public universities in the U.S” and used data from the homosexual advocacy Campus PRIDE group. The total “intended” amount from the government agency was 420,000, according to the original award announcement.

“The study found that students at schools with higher scores on the Campus Pride Index—reflecting the presence of LGBTQ-friendly features on campus—were less likely to experience self-stigma and more likely to be out,” a news release stated. “Meanwhile, when LGBQ+ students experienced higher rates of self-stigma, they also reported more affective symptoms and hazardous drinking—both of which were linked to higher likelihood of IPV.”

The College Fix reached out via email to the two main researchers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor Katie Edwards (pictured, right) and University of Colorado Colorado Springs Professor Heather Littleton (pictured, left), as well as Campus Pride several times in the last two weeks.

None responded to a request for a full copy of the study for review as well as
additional information concerning their methods and clarification concerning the link between Campus Pride index scores and IPV. “A peer-reviewed publication of the SHARE study’s findings is forthcoming,” according to the news release.

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“[W]hen LGBQ+ students experienced higher rates of self-stigma, they also reported more affective symptoms and hazardous drinking—both of which were linked to higher likelihood of IPV,” the news release for the study stated.

A one-page infographic repeatedly used the word “related” to discuss the relationship between variables studied.

The Fix asked the researchers if there was a direct link between the self-stigma and partner abuse, or if they were extrapolating that self-stigma could lead to more drinking which could lead to intimate partner violence.

According to the news release, the research team “evaluated the relationship between campus climate,” using the “Pride Index” and “six other factors” which were “self-stigma,” “identity concealment,” “on campus social support,” “hazardous drinking,” “affective symptoms” and experiences with intimate partner violence.

A business school professor at Catholic University of America with a background in social science research and study methods commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the study to The Fix.

Professor Michael New said that while 11,000 students is a good sample size, the data can still be skewed.

“11,000 students is a large enough sample size for an academically rigorous study,” Dr. New said via email. “That said, I have concerns about whether or not this was a random sample. Those who are stigmatized or who are the victims of intimate partner violence would be less likely than others to volunteer for such a study.”

“Another concern I have is that this survey only considers students from public universities,” he said. “Many students attend private or religious schools. Only considering students from public universities skews the sample.”

“Finally, the survey fails to ask a number of questions I would find interesting if students who attended universities with higher scores on the pride index engaged in a greater amount of sexual activity or had a higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections.”

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IMAGES: University of Colorado Colorado Springs; University of Nebraska Lincoln

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Aidan Mays is a student at Franciscan University of Steubenville studying English with a writing focus, while also studying Greek and tutoring at the Writing Center. He is enrolled in the Honors program and is an active member of Sigma Tau Delta and the Treasurer for his local chapter.  He is a Krav Maga and Muay Thai practitioner.