Public Release: 

UNH to study impact of intimate partner violence on sexual minority college students

University of New Hampshire

DURHAM, N.H.--Researchers at the University of New Hampshire will undertake the largest study ever conducted on intimate partner violence among lesbian, gay, bisexual and other sexual minority college students thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Fifteen colleges and universities across the country have agreed to participate and the researchers expect to survey more than 20,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff. The survey will be conducted by Katie Edwards from UNH and Heather Littleton at East Carolina University.

The survey will evaluate a new theoretical model that examines the ways in which institutional and individual stigma increases risk for intimate partner violence experiences among sexual minority students. Schools are recognizing intimate partner violence among sexual minorities as an issue, but campus climate surveys cost money and require time and expertise that not all institutions of higher education have access to. Each participating school will receive comprehensive school-specific findings and recommendations.

"This study is important for two key reasons," said Katie Edwards, associate professor of psychology and women's studies as well as an affiliate of UNH's Prevention Innovations Research Center. "First, it allows us to rigorously evaluate a new model of sexual stigma. Second, it will help us identify risk and protective factors that will not only help reduce the rate of partner violence among sexual minority students, but may also reduce other public health concerns like problem drinking and suicide in this population."


The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH's research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.

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