Chapter XII. Public Interest (Part 2)
Resolution on ageism
Guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice and organizational change for psychologists
Maltreatment of children with disabilities
HIV prevention strategies involving legal access to sterile injection equipment
Sexual orientation and military service
Children's mental health
Bullying among children and youth
Bullying Among Children and Youth (PDF, 40KB)
Sexual orientation and marriage (Reaffirmed by Council August 11 & 15, 2010)
Sexual orientation, parents, and children
Empirically supported sex education and HIV prevention programs for adolescents
2005 White House Conference on Aging
2005 White House Conference on Aging (PDF, 67KB)
Violence in video games and interactive media
Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media (PDF, 89KB)
This 2005 policy statement is currently under review. The APA Board of Directors is in the process of appointing a task force to review the literature published in the area since the current policy statement was adopted. The task force will report its findings and recommendations on potential changes to the APA policy statement when its work is completed.
Anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish prejudice
Anti-Semitic and Anti-Jewish Prejudice (PDF, 134KB)
Drug abuse treatment to prevent HIV among injecting drug users
Prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination
Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Discrimination (PDF, 99KB)
Report of the Working Group on Psychotropic Medications for Children and Adolescents
Report of the Task Force on Socioeconomic Status
Report of the Task Force on Socioeconomic Status (PDF, 517KB)
While legislation and initiatives that discriminate against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people have been enacted for decades (Smith, 1997), there has been a dramatic increase in such enactments during the past several years. One form of these enactments has been legislation passed by states and other jurisdictions that restricts the rights of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people in a variety of spheres including limiting access to the rights and responsibilities of marriage, restricting parental rights, and constraining access to legal recourse in the face of discrimination. The other major form of restrictive legal enactments has been popular initiatives proposing amendments to state constitutions that also result in restrictions on marriage and/or parenting rights or recourse in the face of discrimination. Some of the laws resulting from such legislation or initiatives also place restrictions on the rights of same-sex couples to enter into contractual arrangements of various kinds (e.g., Davidoff, 2006; Gay marriage ban goes too far, 2006).
Damage to Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexual People
The very process of introducing, debating, and voting on such measures—whether in legislative or referendum contexts—can have deleterious effects on lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people. The rhetoric of these debates tends to be grounded in undocumented and faulty arguments about gay people (Herek, 1998; McCorkle & Most, 1997); often revives old stereotypes and prejudices (Bullis & Bach, 1996); and portrays lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people as dangerous and threatening (Davies, 1982; Douglass, 1997; Eastland, 1996a, 1996b; Herman, 1997; McCorkle & Most, 1997; Moritz, 1995; Smith, 1997; Smith & Windes, 2000; Wieshoff, 2002). Much of the rhetoric includes a tone of moral condemnation (Smith, 1997). Lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people are thereby objectified and disenfranchised.
Effects of Such Legislation and Initiatives
These legislative and initiative actions result in practical restrictions on the social and political freedom of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people. Some of these restrictions occur in the realm of the everyday; for example, in the context of the least restrictive of these legal actions, same-sex couples do not have access to the legal rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. Some of these restrictions occur in the context of more extraordinary events; for example, if one member of a same-sex couple has an accident and requires medical care, the couple’s signed and notarized medical power of attorney can be legally disregarded by hospital personnel in a jurisdiction that has the more restrictive legal enactments (e.g., Davidoff, 2006; Gay marriage ban goes too far, 2006).
These legislative and initiative actions can also result in psychological distress for lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people. Immediate consequences include fear, sadness, alienation, anger, and an increase in internalized homophobia (Russell, 2000; Russell & Richards, 2003). In addition, these actions can increase the degree to which lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people are affected by minority stress (Cochran & Mays, 2000; Cochran, Sullivan, & Mays, 2003; DiPlacido, 1998; Gilman, Cochran, Mays, Hughes, Ostrow, & Kessler, 2001; Herdt & Kertzner, 2006; King & Bartlett, 2006; Mays & Cochran, 2001; Meyer, 2003).
Incompatibility with APA Policies
Discriminatory legislation and initiatives stand in explicit violation of earlier APA policies. Relevant APA policies, rooted in empirical data, have established that there is no basis for discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people (Conger, 1975); that there is no basis for legal enactments that limit legal recourse in the face of discrimination based on sexual orientation (APA, 1993); that there is no basis for discrimination against same-sex couples in marriage rights (Paige, 2005a) or parental rights (Paige, 2005b).
Therefore, there exists essential incompatibility between APA’s existing policies and the discriminatory legislation and initiatives that seek to limit the rights of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people. Despite this incompatibility, it is expected that, in the foreseeable future, legislation and initiatives that discriminate against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people will be introduced, debated, and voted on.
WHEREAS various states and other jurisdictions have enacted legislation and/or constitutional amendments that limit the access of same-sex couples to the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage and that therefore affect their relationships with each other and/or with their children;
WHEREAS various states and other jurisdictions have enacted legislation and/or constitutional amendments that limit legal recourse available to lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people in the face of discrimination based on sexual orientation;
WHEREAS it has been the expressed or implied intent of some elected and appointed officials to apply these laws in a manner that selectively discriminates against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people (e.g., Davidoff, 2006);
WHEREAS these legal restrictions resist the force of psychological data that provide “no evidence to justify discrimination against same-sex couples” (Paige, 2005a, p. 2);
WHEREAS these legal restrictions contradict two decades of empirical research that suggests “that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents” (Paige, 2005b, p. 2);
WHEREAS the debate leading up to these legal enactments as well as their outcome cause undue psychological risk to same-sex couples and their children as well as to single lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, and they create a hostile climate for all lesbian, gay, and bisexual people (Bullis & Bach, 1996; Davies, 1982; Donovan & Bowler, 1997; Douglass, 1997; Eastland, 1996a, 1996b; Gonsiorek, 1993; McCorkle & Most, 1997; Moritz, 1995; Moses-Zirkes, 1993; Russell, 2000; Russell & Richards, 2003; Smith, 1997; Whillock, 1995);
WHEREAS the psychological risks associated with exposure to prejudice and discrimination result in increased psychological distress (Cochran & Mays, 2000; Cochran, Sullivan, & Mays, 2003; DiPlacido, 1998; Gilman, Cochran, Mays, Hughes, Ostrow, & Kessler, 2001; Mays & Cochran, 2001; Meyer, 2003; Russell, 2000; Russell & Richards, 2003);
WHEREAS APA has taken clear stands against discrimination in any of its forms and against discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people in particular (Conger, 1975);
WHEREAS current immigration law unfairly discriminates against same-sex couples when one is a U.S. citizen and the partner is not;
WHEREAS municipal laws that prohibit or otherwise limit households members who are not related by biology or marriage may unfairly affect same-sex couples, who typically lack access to marriage, as well as poor people and other-sex partners who do not choose to marry;
WHEREAS APA has policies that specifically oppose discrimination against same-sex couples in access to marriage (Paige, 2005a) and that oppose “any discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of adoption, child custody and visitation, foster care, and reproductive health services” (Paige, 2005b, p. 3);
WHEREAS APA is increasingly adopting an international focus and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in many parts of the world face hostile environments;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that APA reaffirms its opposition to discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people and will take a leadership role in actively opposing the adoption of discriminatory legislation and initiatives;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will convene a meeting of representatives of national health and mental health organizations to encourage a concerted response to discriminatory legislation and initiatives;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will make deliberate efforts to hold meetings in states and other jurisdictions and to enter into contracts with entities located in states and other jurisdictions that do not put members of the organization at physical, emotional, or social risk;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA collaborate in amicus briefs with regard to such discriminatory legislation and that APA take other appropriate legal action to protect its employees who live in states and other jurisdictions that put members of the organization at physical, emotional, or social risk;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA, when meeting in a state or jurisdiction that has enacted legislation and/or constitutional amendments that limit access of same-sex couples to the legal rights and responsibilities of marriage and that therefore affect their relationships with one another and/or with their children, APA will take steps to promote the physical and psychological safety of its members and will offer specific and concrete measures to counter the hostile environment.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will ask the U. S. National Committee for Psychology to suggest a policy stance on antigay legislation internationally and to bring this policy to the International Union of Psychological Science General Assembly for discussion and adoption.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA encourage the United States to enact immigration laws that allow same-sex couples in which one is a citizen and one is not access to the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities that apply to other-sex couples in which one is a U.S. citizen and the partner is not;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that APA encourage municipalities to abolish laws that prohibit or otherwise limit households members who are not related by biology or marriage that unfairly affect same-sex couples, who typically lack access to marriage, as well as poor people and other-sex partners who do not choose to marry.
American Psychological Association. (1993). Resolution on state initiatives and referenda. Washington, DC: Author.
Bullis, C., & Bach, B. W. (1996). Feminism and the disenfranchised: Listening beyond the "other." In E. B. Ray (Ed.), Communication and disenfranchisement: Social health issues and implication (pp. 3-28). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Cochran, S. D., & Mays, V. M. (2000). Relation between psychiatric syndromes and behaviorally defined sexual orientation in a sample of the US population. Journal of Epidemiology, 151, 516-523.
Cochran, S. D., Sullivan, J. G., & Mays, V. M. (2003). Prevalence of mental disorders, psychological distress, and mental health service use among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 53-61.
Conger, J. J. (1975). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 1974. Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives American Psychologist, 30, 62-651.
Davies, C. (1982). Sexual taboos and social boundaries. American Journal of Sociology, 87, 1032-1063.
Davidoff, J. (2006, February 27). Gay marriage ban may catch companies off guard. Retrieved February 28, 2006 from http://www.madison.com Gay marriage ban goes too far [Editorial]. (2006, February 26]. Virginia Pilot. Retrieved February 27, 2006 from http://home.hamptonroads.com
DiPlacido, J. (1998). Minority stress among lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals: A consequence of heterosexism, homophobia, and stigmatization. In G. M. Herek (Eds.), Stigma and sexual orientation (pp. 138-159). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Donovan, T., & Bowler, S. (1997). Direct democracy and minority rights: Opinions on anti-gay and lesbian ballot initiatives. In S. L. Will & S. McCorkle (Eds.), Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives (pp. 109-125). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Douglass, D. (1997). Taking the initiative: Anti-homosexual propaganda of the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance. In S. L. Will & S. McCorkle (Eds.), Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives (pp. 17-32). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Eastland, L. S. (1996a). Defending identity: Courage and compromise in radical right contexts. In E. B. Ray (Ed.), Case studies in communication and disenfranchisement: Applications to social health issues (pp. 3-14). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Eastland, L. S. (1996b). The reconstruction of identity: Strategies of the Oregon Citizens Alliance. In E. B. Ray (Ed.), Communication and disenfranchisement: Social health issues and implications (pp. 59-75). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Gilman, S. E., Cochran, S. D., Mays, V. M., Hughes, M., Ostrow, D., & Kessler, R. C. (2001). Risks of psychiatric disorders among individuals reporting same-sex sexual partners in the National Comorbidity Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 933-939.
Gonsiorek, J. (1993, May). Testimony in Colorado: Treading the fine line between scientific rigor, passion and social justice. Division 44 Newsletter, American Psychological Association, 9(1), 2.
Herdt, G., & Kertzner, R. (2006). I do, but I can’t: The impact of marriage denial on the mental health and sexual citizenship of lesbians and gay men in the United States. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of the National Sexuality Resource Center. Available at http://nsrc.sfsu.edu
Herek, G. M. (1998). Bad science in the service of stigma: A critique of the Cameron group’s survey studies. In G. M. Herek (Ed.), Stigma and sexual orientation: Understanding prejudice against lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (pp. 223-255). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Herman, D. (1997). The antigay agenda: Orthodox vision and the Christian Right. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kilgore, J. W. (2004). Letter from Jerry W. Kilgore, Virginia Attorney General, to Hon. Robert G. Marshall.
King, M., & Bartlett, A. (2006). What same sex civil partnerships may man for health. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60, 188-191.
Mays, V. M., & Cochran, S. D. (2001).Mental health correlates of perceived discrimination among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 1869-1876.
McCorkle, S., & Most, M. G. (1997). Fear and loathing on the editorial page: An analysis of Idaho's anti-gay initiative. In S. C. Witt & S. McCorkle (Eds.), Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives (pp. 63-76). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Meyer, I. H. (2003).Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697.
Moritz, M. J. (1995). "The Gay Agenda": Marketing hate speech to mainstream media. In R. K. Whillock & D. Slayden (Eds.), Hate speech (pp. 55-79). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Moses-Zirkes, S. (1993, April).Gay issues move to center of attention. APA Monitor, pp. 28-29.
Paige, R. U. (2005a). Sexual orientation and marriage: APA policy statement. Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from the World Wide Web http:www.apa.org/governance. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)
Paige, R. U. (2005b). Sexual orientation, parents, & children: APA policy statement. Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from the World Wide Web http:www.apa.org/governance. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)
Russell, G. M. (2000). Voted out: The psychological consequences of anti-gay politics. New York: New York University Press.
Russell, G. M., & Richards, J. A. (2003). Stressor and resilience factors for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals confronting antigay politics. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 313-327.
Smith, R. R. (1997). Secular anti-gay advocacy in the Springfield, Missouri, bias crime ordinance debate. In S. L. Witt & S. McCorkle (Eds.), Anti-gay rights: Assessing voter initiatives (pp. 85-106). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Smith, R. R., & Windes, R. R. (2000). Progay/Antigay: The rhetorical war over sexuality. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Whillock, R. K. (1995). The use of hate as a stratagem for achieving political and social goals. In R. K. Whillock & D. Slayden (Eds.), Hate speech (pp. 28-54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Wieshoff, C. (2002). Naming, blaming, and claiming in public disputes: The 1998 Maine referendum on civil rights protection for gay men and lesbians. Journal of Homosexuality, 44, 61-82.
Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls
Council also voted to adopt the following recommendations from the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (In accordance with Association Rule 30-6.2, "in order to be implemented, recommendations contained in the Report must further be presented to Council as main motions, with the usual accompanying information on fiscal implications and what entity has responsibility to carry out the actions contemplated.")
That psychologists conduct research to:
Document the frequency of sexualization, specifically of girls, and examine whether sexualization is increasing.
Examine and inform our understanding of the circumstances under which the sexualization of girls occurs and identify factors involving the media and products that either contribute to or buffer against the sexualization of girls.
Examine the presence or absence of the sexualization of girls and women in all media but especially movies, music videos, music lyrics, video games, books, and blogs and internet sites. In particular, research is needed to examine the extent to which girls are portrayed in sexualized and objectified ways and whether this has increased over time. In addition, it is important that these studies focus specifically on sexualization rather than sexuality more broadly or on other constructs such as gender-role stereotyping.
Describe the influence and/or impact of sexualization on girls. This includes both short- and long-term effects of viewing or buying into a sexualizing objectifying image, how these effects influence girl's development, self-esteem, friendships and intimate relationships, ideas about femininity, body image, physical, mental, and sexual health, sexual satisfaction, desire for plastic surgery, risk factors for early pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections, attitudes toward women, other girls, boys, and men, as well as educational aspirations and future career success.
Explore issues of age compression ("adultification" of young girls and "youthification" of adult women), including prevalence, impact on the emotional well-being of girls and women, and influences on behavior.
Explore differences in presentation of sexualized images and effects of these images on girls of color, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and transgendered girls, girls of different cultures and ethnicities, girls of different religions, girls with disabilities, and girls from all socioeconomic groups.
Identify media (including advertising) and marketing alternatives to sexualized images of girls, such as positive depictions of sexuality.
Identify effective culturally competent protective factors (examples include helping adolescent girls develop a nonobjectified model of normal, healthy sexual development and expression through school or other programs).
Evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions that promote positive alternatives and approaches to the sexualization of girls. Particular attention should be given to programs and interventions at the individual, family, school, and/or community level.
Explore the relationship between the sexualization of girls and societal issues such as sexual abuse, child pornography, child prostitution, and the trafficking of girls. Research on the potential associations between the sexualization of girls and the sexual exploitation of girls is virtually nonexistent and the need for this line of inquiry is pressing.
Investigate the relationships between international issues such as immigration and globalization and the sexualization of girls worldwide. Document the global prevalence of the sexualization of girls and the types of sexualization that occur in different countries or regions, and any regional differences in the effects of sexualization. Assess the effects of sexualization on immigrant girls and determine whether these effects are moderated by country of origin, age at immigration, and level of acculturation.
Conduct controlled studies on the efficacy of working directly with girls and girls' groups that address these issues, as well as other prevention/intervention programs.
That researchers who are conducting studies on related topics (e.g., physical attractiveness, body awareness or acceptance of the thin ideal) consider the impact of sexualization as they develop their findings.
That APA make the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls available to practitioners working with children and adolescents in order to familiarize them with information and resources relevant to the sexualization of girls and objectifying behavior on the part of girls.
That APA make the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls available to practitioners as a source of information on assisting girls in developing the skills necessary to advocate for themselves and counter these adverse messages, taking into account the impact and influence of family and other relationships.
III. Education and Training
That APA disseminates information about the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls to instructors at the middle school and high school and undergraduate levels and to chairs of graduate departments of psychology.
That information from the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls be considered for inclusion in future revisions of the "National Standards for High School Psychology” and "Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major" by the groups charged with revising these documents.
That chairs of graduate departments of psychology and of graduate departments in other areas in which psychologists work be encouraged to consider information from the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls as curricula are developed within their programs and to aid in the dissemination of the report.
That information from the Report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls be considered for development as continuing education and online academy programming, in partnership with APA’s Continuing Education in Psychology Office.
That the Ethics Committee and APA Ethics Office consider and use this report in developing ethics educational and training materials for psychologists and make this report available to the group responsible for the next revision of the APA Ethical Principles.
IV. Public Policy
That APA advocate for funding to support needed research in the areas outlined above.
That APA advocate for funding to support the development and implementation by public agencies and private organizations of media literacy programs, including interactive media, in schools that combat sexualization and objectification.
That APA advocate for the inclusion of information about sexualization and objectification in health and other related programs, including comprehensive sex education and other sexuality education programs.
That APA encourage federal agencies to support the development of programming that may counteract damaging images of girlhood and test the effects of such programs, for example, web "zines" (web magazines) extracurricular activities (such as athletics), and programs that help girls feel powerful in other ways than through a sexy appearance.
That APA work with Congress and relevant federal agencies and industry to reduce the use of sexualized images of girls in all forms of media and products.
V. Public Awareness
That APA seek outside funding to support the development and implementation of an initiative to address the issues raised in this report and identify outside partners to collaborate on these goals. The long-term goals of this initiative, to be pursued in collaboration with these outside partners, should include the following:
Develop age appropriate multimedia education resources representing ethnically and culturally diverse young people (boys and girls), parents, educators, health care providers, and community-based organizations, available in English and other languages, to help facilitate effective conversations about the sexualization of girls and its impact on girls, as well as on boys, women, and men.
Convene forums that will bring together members of the media and a panel of leading experts in the field to examine and discuss a) the sexualization of girls in the United States, b) the findings of this task force report, and c) strategies to increase awareness about this issue and reduce negative images of girls in the media.
Develop media awards for positive portrayals of girls as strong, competent, and nonsexualized, for example, the best television portrayal of girls or best toy.
Convene forums with industry partners, including the media, advertisers, marketing professionals, and manufacturers, to discuss the presentation of sexualized images and the potential negative impact on girls and to develop relationships with the goal of providing guidance on appropriate material for varying developmental ages and guidance on storylines and programming that reflects the positive portrayals of girls.
That school personnel, parents and other caregivers, and community-based youth and parenting organizations, and local business and service organizations encourage positive extracurricular activities that help youth build nurturing connections with peers and enhance self-esteem based on young people's abilities and character rather than their appearance.
Resolution on religious, religion-based and/or religion-derived prejudice
Anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish prejudice
Anti-Semitic and Anti-Jewish Prejudice (PDF, 134KB)
Americans with Disabilities Act
Report of the Task Force on the Implementation of the Multicultural Guidelines
Resolution on transgender and gender identity and gender expression non-discrimination
WHEREAS transgender and gender variant people frequently experience prejudice and discrimination and psychologists can, through their professional actions, address these problems at both an individual and a societal level;
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association opposes prejudice and discrimination based on demographic characteristics including gender identity, as reflected in policies including the Hate Crimes Resolution (Paige, 2005), the Resolution on Prejudice Stereotypes and Discrimination (Paige, 2007), APA Bylaws (Article III, Section 2), the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA 2002, 3.01 and Principle E);
WHEREAS transgender and other gender variant people benefit from treatment with therapists with specialized knowledge of their issues (Lurie, 2005; Rachlin, 2002), and that the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct state that when scientific or professional knowledge ...is essential for the effective implementation of their services or research, psychologists have or obtain the training....necessary to ensure the competence of their services...” (APA 2002, 2.01b);
WHEREAS discrimination and prejudice against people based on their actual or perceived gender identity or expression detrimentally affects psychological, physical, social, and economic well-being (Bockting et al., 2005; Coan et al., 2005; Clements-Nolle, 2006; Kenagy, 2005; Kenagy & Bostwick, 2005; Nemoto et al., 2005; Resolution on Prejudice Stereotypes and Discrimination, Paige, 2007; Riser et al., 2005; Rodriquez-Madera & Toro-Alfonso, 2005; Sperber et al., 2005; Xavier et al., 2005);
WHEREAS transgender people may be denied basic non-gender transition related health care (Bockting et al., 2005; Coan et al., 2005; Clements-Nolle, 2006; GLBT Health Access Project, 2000; Kenagy, 2005; Kenagy & Bostwick, 2005; Nemoto et al., 2005; Riser et al., 2005; Rodriquez-Madera & Toro-Alfonso, 2005; Sperber et al., 2005; Xavier et al., 2005);
WHEREAS gender variant and transgender people may be denied appropriate gender transition related medical and mental health care despite evidence that appropriately evaluated individuals benefit from gender transition treatments (De Cuypere et al., 2005; Kuiper & Cohen-Kettenis, 1988; Lundstrom, et al., 1984; Newfield, et al., 2006; Pfafflin & Junge, 1998; Rehman et al., 1999; Ross & Need, 1989; Smith et al., 2005);
WHEREAS gender variant and transgender people may be denied basic civil rights and protections (Minter, 2003; Spade, 2003) including: the right to civil marriage which confers a social status and important legal benefits, rights, and privileges (Paige, 2005); the right to obtain appropriate identity documents that are consistent with a post-transition identity; and the right to fair and safe and harassment-free institutional environments such as care facilities, treatment centers, shelters, housing, schools, prisons and juvenile justice programs;
WHEREAS transgender and gender variant people experience a disproportionate rate of homelessness (Kammerer et al., 2001), unemployment (APA, 2007) and job discrimination (Herbst et al., 2007), disproportionately report income below the poverty line (APA, 2007) and experience other financial disadvantages (Lev, 2004);
WHEREAS transgender and gender variant people may be at increased risk in institutional environments and facilities for harassment, physical and sexual assault (Edney, 2004; Minter, 2003; Peterson et al., 1996; Witten & Eyler, 2007) and inadequate medical care including denial of gender transition treatments such as hormone therapy (Edney, 2004; Peterson et al., 1996; Bockting et al., 2005; Coan et al., 2005; Clements-Nolle, 2006; Kenagy, 2005; Kenagy & Bostwick, 2005; Nemoto et al., 2005; Newfield et al., 2006; Riser et al., 2005; Rodriquez-Madera &Toro-Alfonso, 2005; Sperber et al., 2005; Xavier et al., 2005);
WHEREAS many gender variant and transgender children and youth face harassment and violence in school environments, foster care, residential treatment centers, homeless centers and juvenile justice programs (D'Augelli, Grossman, & Starks, 2006; Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 2003; Grossman, D'Augelli, & Slater, 2006);
WHEREAS psychologists are in a position to influence policies and practices in institutional settings, particularly regarding the implementation of the Standards of Care published by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH, formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association) which recommend the continuation of gender transition treatments and especially hormone therapy during incarceration (Meyer et al., 2001);
WHEREAS psychological research has the potential to inform treatment, service provision, civil rights and approaches to promoting the well-being of transgender and gender variant people;
WHEREAS APA has a history of successful collaboration with other organizations to meet the needs of particular populations, and organizations outside of APA have useful resources for addressing the needs of transgender and gender variant people;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT APA opposes all public and private discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived gender identity and expression and urges the repeal of discriminatory laws and policies;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the passage of laws and policies protecting the rights, legal benefits, and privileges of people of all gender identities and expressions;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports full access to employment, housing, and education regardless of gender identity and expression;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA calls upon psychologists in their professional roles to provide appropriate, nondiscriminatory treatment to transgender and gender variant individuals and encourages psychologists to take a leadership role in working against discrimination towards transgender and gender variant individuals;
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA encourages legal and social recognition of transgender individuals consistent with their gender identity and expression, including access to identity documents consistent with their gender identity and expression which do not involuntarily disclose their status as transgender for transgender people who permanently socially transition to another gender role;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports access to civil marriage and all its attendant benefits, rights, privileges and responsibilities, regardless of gender identity or expression;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports efforts to provide fair and safe environments for gender variant and transgender people in institutional settings such as supportive living environments, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, treatment facilities, and shelters, as well as custodial settings such as prisons and jails;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports efforts to provide safe and secure educational environments, at all levels of education, as well as foster care environments and juvenile justice programs, that promote an understanding and acceptance of self and in which all youths, including youth of all gender identities and expressions, may be free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the provision of adequate and medically necessary mental and medical health care treatment for transgender and gender variant individuals;
THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports access to appropriate treatment in institutional settings for people of all gender identities and expressions; including access to appropriate health care services including gender transition therapies;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the creation of educational resources for all psychologists in working with individuals who are gender variant and transgender;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the funding of basic and applied research concerning gender expression and gender identity;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports the creation of scientific and educational resources that inform public discussion about gender identity and gender expression to promote public policy development, and societal and familial attitudes and behaviors that affirm the dignity and rights of all individuals regardless of gender identity or gender expression;
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT APA supports cooperation with other organizations in efforts to accomplish these ends.
American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.
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APA resolution on promotion of healthy active lifestyles and prevention of obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth
WHEREAS significant numbers of children and youth between 2 and 19 years of age are considered obese and obesity disproportionately affects low income and minority children and youth (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, McDowell, Tabl, & Flegall, 2006; Ogden, Carroll, & Flegall, 2008)
WHEREAS racial and ethnic minority children and youth raised in poor neighborhoods are at greater risk for obesity, eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and less likely to engage in physically active lifestyles (Delva, Johnston, & O’Malley, 2007; Neumark-Sztainer, Wall, Perry, & Story, 2003)
WHEREAS obesity is embedded in a socio-cultural context influenced by eating habits, access to healthy affordable foods, the physical and built environment (e.g., sidewalks), and access to safe environments for physical activity (Baker, Schootman, Barnidge, & Kelly, 2006; Schwartz & Brownell, 2007)
WHEREAS second and third generation children of immigrant parents are at increased risk for obesity (Popkin & Udry, 1998) and the socio-economic contexts of parental acculturation may play a role in access to healthy foods (Mazur, Marquis, & Jensen, 2003)
WHEREAS there are significant disparities in physical environments that support active lifestyles (e.g., access to parks and recreation centers) (Kumanyika et al., 2007), healthier foods including fresh fruits and vegetables are more difficult to purchase in low income neighborhoods (Yancey & Kumanyika, 2007), and inequities in access to health care may translate into less access (The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 2007) to counseling about healthy lifestyles and behavioral changes to prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors (e.g., fasting; skipping meals; eating very little food; vomiting; using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics) (The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 2007)
WHEREAS more resources need to be directed to culturally centered prevention efforts for childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors (Bernal & Saez-Santiago, 2006; Black & Young-Hyman, 2007; Kumanyika et al., 2007)
WHEREAS obesity in childhood places children and youth at risk for becoming obese as adults and associated poor health such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer (Serdula, Ivery, Coates, Freedman, Williamson, &Byers, 1993; Whitaker, Wright, Pepe, Seidel, & Deitz, 1997) and prevention efforts should be aimed at reducing excess weight gain throughout childhood (Pratt, Stevens, & Daniels, 2008)
WHEREAS it is reported that 54 million people in the United States, or roughly 21 percent of the population, has some level of disability (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000) effective strategies for reducing the risk of overweight/obesity in adolescents with disabilities must begin with greater awareness of the behavioral and environmental antecedents that lead to higher rates of obesity in this underserved segment of the youth population (Rimmer, Rowland, Yamaki, 2007)
WHEREAS to promote active lifestyles children, youth, and families need access to safe spaces for physical activities, access to a variety of foods, and opportunities for physical activity regardless of physical ability (Sallis & Glanz, 2006).
WHEREAS youth who are obese engage in both binge eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors more often than their non overweight peers (Neumark-Sztainer Wall, Haines, Story, Sherwood, & van den Berg, 2007)
WHEREAS binge eating and unhealthy weight control behaviors are prevalent among youth across ethnic/racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, indicating a need to ensure that the specific needs of different groups are addressed in the development of prevention efforts (Neumark-Sztainer, Croll, Story, Hannan, French, & Perry, 2002)
WHEREAS children spend a significant portion of their day in schools and physical activity at school or with family members has been associated with better academic performance (Carlson et al., 2008; Castelli, Hillman, Buck, & Erwin, 2007).
WHEREAS effective partnerships with day care settings, preschools, schools and the broader community are essential in promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children and youth (Schwartz & Brownell, 2007).
WHEREAS poor nutrition habits, lack of regular physical activity, and unmonitored television viewing is associated with obesity in children and youth (Anderson & Butcher, 2006)
WHEREAS experts have linked the increase of childhood obesity to targeted marketing and advertising to children and youth (Kunkel, Wilcox, Cantor, Palmer, Linn, & Dowrick, 2004)
WHEREAS marketing and advertising aimed at objectifying girls and women may contribute to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self esteem, and depressive affect (Zurbriggen, Collins, Lamb, Roberts, Tolman, Ward, et al., 2007)
WHEREAS weight bias may marginalize children and youth considered obese by their peers and teachers and place them at risk for teasing and bullying (Puhl & Latner, 2007)
WHEREAS body dissatisfaction and weight related concerns extend across ethnic groups and weight related stigma has been found to co-occur with depression, low self esteem, and suicidal thought (Ackard, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Perry, 2003; Davison & Birch, 2002; Neumark-Sztainer, Croll, Story, Hannan, French, & Perry, 2002)
WHEREAS active healthy lifestyles including moderate television viewing (Gable, Chung, & Krull, 2007), regular family mealtimes (Fulkerson, Strauss, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, & Boutelle, 2007), and regular exercise (Ekeland, Heian, & Hagan, 2005) are associated with physical and mental health in children and youth
WHEREAS changes in family eating patterns outside the home, family mealtime behaviors, and family food choice practices are associated with improved nutrition habits and healthy weight (Jacobs & Fiese, 2007; Kremers, Brug, deVries, & Engels, 2003; Taveras et al., 2005)
WHEREAS the development of obesity is influenced by genetic, metabolic and physiological factors, there are environmental, behavioral, and societal factors that can be the focus of prevention efforts, especially in children and youth (Brownell & Horgen, 2004)
Whereas research on psychological treatments for obesity and overweight prevention has been extensive and growing in establishing an evidence base foundation for effectiveness and implementation (Jelalian & Steele, 2008).
Whereas professional psychologists are often well-suited to implement psychology based preventive interventions in schools, primary-care, community organizations, and other practice-settings (Jelalian & Steele, 2008).
Whereas psychology training programs are important to developing professional psychologists to implement treatments and preventive interventions as well as prepare the next generation of clinical researchers in the promotion of healthy active lifestyles for youth and their families.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association encourage the promotion and support of evidence-based, including practice based, preventive interventions that focus on effective weight management for children and youth that are culturally relevant, encourage behavioral and psychosocial research and policy attention to the promotion of healthy active lifestyles and prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth in the following targeted areas of behavioral science:
- Socio-economic conditions that influence active lifestyles and effectively prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth
- Cultural and economic context of food choice, exercise, and diet for children, youth, and families
- Promotion of physically active lifestyles in low income neighborhoods and rural communities
- Prevention of obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and adolescents with disabilities
- Culturally sensitive community, school, and family based prevention efforts for childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
- Effects of targeted food advertising to children and youth
- Stigma and weight bias as barriers in participating in healthy active lifestyles and preventing obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
- Reduction of weight related bias and teasing and initiatives to mediate long-term consequences of such bias
- Community, school, and work settings that promote active lifestyles and support families in preventing childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
- Family school partnerships to promote adequate time and resources for exercise and healthier diets in schools
- Education and support programs for families to practice healthy family mealtimes and engage in active lifestyles
- Initiatives that effectively help individuals maintain healthy eating and physically active lifestyles
- Promotion of healthy body image in children and youth
- Interventions that prevent obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors while also maintaining positive body image
- Support effective partnerships among day care settings, preschools, schools, families, and communities to promote healthy active lifestyles
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA work with funders, government agencies, American Indian/Alaskan Native Tribes and leaders, and other professional organizations to increase the priority given to support healthy active lifestyles for families and the prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA devote efforts in all levels of psychology education and training, to promote awareness and knowledge of psychologists and the general public regarding obesity, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and healthy active lifestyles for children and youth.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA’s government relations office be encouraged to pursue legislative opportunities aimed at encouraging healthy active lifestyles for families, preventing childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors, promoting positive body image, and reducing weight related bias and teasing for children and their families
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration among psychologists, pediatricians, nutritionists, educators and public health professionals to create a roadmap of prevention of childhood obesity and unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth and to set a national agenda for behaviors that lead to healthy eating and active family lifestyles
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA stress that childhood obesity and the use of unhealthy weight control behaviors in children and youth is a national public health concern embedded in a cultural and economic context with behavioral solutions that affects many sectors of society.
Ackard, D. M., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Perry, C. (2003). Overeating among adolescents: Prevalence and associations with weight-related characteristics and psychological health. Pediatrics, 111, 67-74.
Anderson, P. M., & Butcher, K. F. (2006). Childhood obesity: Trends and potential causes. Future of Children, 16, 19-46.
Baker, E. A., Schootman, M., Barnidge, E., & Kelly, C. (2006). The role of race and poverty in access to food that enable individuals to adhere to dietary guidelines. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3, 1-11.
Bernal, G., & Saez-Santiago, E. (2006). Culturally centered psychosocial interventions. Journal of Community Psychology, 34, 121-132.
Black, M. M., & Young-Hyman, D. (2007). Introduction to the special issue: Pediatric overweight. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 1-5.
Brownell, K. D., & Horgen, K. B. (2004). Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It. New York: McGraw Hill.
Carlson, S. A., Fulton, J. E., Lee, S. M., et al., (2008). Physical education and academic achievement in elementary school: Data from the early childhood longitudinal study. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 721-727.
Castelli, D., Hillman, S. M., Buck, S. M., & Erwin, H. E. (2007). Physical fitness and academic achievement in third- and fifth-grade students. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 29, 239-252.
Delva, J., Johnston, L, & O'Malley, P. M. (2007) The epidemiology of overweight and related lifestyle behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, S178-S186. 2007.
Davison, K. K., & Birch, L. L. (2002). Processes linking weight status and self concept among girls form ages 5 to 7 years. Developmental Psychology, 38, 735-748.
Ekeland, E., Heian, F., Hagen, K. B. (2005). Can exercise improve self esteem in children and young people? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. British Journal Sports Medicine, 39, 792-798.
Fulkerson, J. A., Strauss, J., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., & Boutelle, K. (2007). Correlates of psychosocial well-being among overweight adolescents: The role of the family. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 181-186.
Gable, S., Chang, Y., & Krull, J. (2007). Television watching and frequency of family meals are predictive of overweight onset and persistence in a national sample of school-aged children. Journal of American Dietetics Association, 107, 53-61.
Jacobs, M. P., & Fiese, B. H. (2007). Family mealtime interactions and overweight children with asthma: Potential for compounded risks? Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 64-68.
Jelalian, E., & Steele, R.G. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook Of Childhood And Adolescent Obesity. New York: Springer.
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2007). Key Facts: Race, Ethnicity, and Medical Care. Washington DC: The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.
Kremers, S. P., Brug, J., deVries, H., & Engels, R. C. (2003). Parenting style and adolescent fruit consumption. Appetite (41), 43-50.
Kumanyika, S. K., Whitt-Glover, M. C., Gary, T. L., Prewitt, T. E., Odoms-Young, A. M., Banks-Wallace, J., et al. (2007). Expanding the obesity research paradigm to reach African American communities. Preventing Chronic Disease, 4, 1-12.
Kunkel, D., Wilcox, B. L., Cantor, J., Palmer, E., Linn, S., & Dowrick, P. (2004). Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Mazur, R. E., Marquis, G. S., & Jensen, H. H. (2003). Diet and food insufficiency among Hispanic youths: Acculturation and socioeconomic factors in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 78, 1120-1127.
Neumark-Sztainer, D., Croll, J., Story, M., Hannan, P. J., French, S. A., & Perry, C. (2002). Ethnic/racial differences in weight-related concerns and behaviors among adolescent girls and boys: Findings from Project EAT. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 53, 963-974.
Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M., Haines, J., Story, M., Sherwood, N. E., & van den Berg, P. A. (2007). Shared risk and protective factors for overweight and disordered eating in adolescents. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, 359-369.
Neumark-Sztainer, D., Wall, M., Perry, C., & Story, M. (2003). Correlates of fruit and vegetable intake among adolescents: Findings from Project EAT. Preventive Medicine, 37, 198-208.
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Curtin, L. R., McDowell, M. A., Tabak, C. J., & Flegal, K. M. (2006). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999-2004. JAMA 295, 1549-1555.
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2008). High body mass index for age among US children and adolescents, 2003-2006. JAMA, 299, 2401-2405.
Popkin, B. M., & Udry, J. R. (1998). Adolescent obesity increases significantly in second and third generation U. S. immigrants: The national longitudinal study of adolescent health. Journal of Nutrition, 128, 701-706.
Pratt, C. A., Stevens, J., & Daniels, S. (2008). Childhood obesity prevention and treatment recommendations for future research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35, 249-252.
Puhl, R. M., & Latner, J. D. (2007). Stigma, obesity, and the health of the nation's children. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 557-580.
Rimmer, J.H., Rowland, J.L., Yamaki, K. (2007). Obesity and Secondary Conditions in Adolescents with Disabilities: Addressing the Needs of an Underserved Population. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41 (3), 224 – 229.
Sallis, J. F., & Glanz, K. (2006). The role of built environments in physical activity, eating, and obesity in childhood. The Future of Children: Childhood Obesity, 16, 89-108.
Serdula, M. K.D., Ivery, R. J., Coates, D. S., Freedman, D.F., Williamson, D. F., & Byers, T. (1993). Do obese children become obese adults?: A review of the literature. Preventive Medicin, 22, 167-177.
Schwartz, M. B., & Brownell, K. D. (2007). Actions necessary to prevent childhood obesity: Creating the climate for change. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 35, 78-89.
Taveras, E. M., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Berkey, C. S., Rockett, H. R. H., Field, A. E., Frazier, A. L., et al. (2005). Family dinner and adolescent overweight. Obesity Research, 13, 900-906.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Census 2000 summary file (SF 3) - Sample data. Retrieved August 22, 2006, from http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTableSF3_U_QTP21&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U
Yancey, A. K. & Kumanyika, S. K. (2007). Bridging the gap: Understanding the structure of social inequalities in childhood obesity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33, (no 4S): S172-S174.
Whitaker, R. C., Wright, J. A., Pepe, M. S., Seidel, K. D., & Deitz, W. H. (1997). Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. New England Journal of Medicine, 37, 869-873.
Zurbriggen, E. L., Collins, R. L., Lamb, S., Roberts, T., Tolman, D. L., Ward, L. M., et al. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Resolution in support of ethnic minority training in psychology
WHEREAS research and services training in psychology and the biomedical and behavioral sciences are a fundamental component of the overall Science and professional practice enterprises;
WHEREAS a reduction of funds for research and services training in psychology and the behavioral and biomedical sciences will adversely impact the nation’s training pipeline and infrastructure for research and professional practice, and thereby reduce the nation’s capacity to generate new knowledge and provide needed mental and behavioral health sciences;
WHEREAS ethnic minorities (i.e., persons of African, Asian, Hispanic/Latino/a, American Indian, Pacific Islander and Native Alaskan descent-nations) currently comprise approximately 33% of the nation’s population, with an expected increase to more than 50% by 2060 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2004);
WHEREAS it is broadly acknowledged that within the U.S. significant racial/ethnic disparities exist in health status and treatment; and, in response, the U.S. Congress and Surgeon General directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to have all of its institutes develop action plans related to the elimination of such health disparities (Bret & Hays, 2004; Shavers & Shavers, 2006; Smedley, Stith & Nelson, 2003);
WHEREAS, there is an underrepresentation of ethnic minority researchers such that in 1999 only 14% of all NIH research grant awards and 10% of all NIMH research grant awards went to ethnic minority researchers, and only 23% and 41% respectively of these were awarded to persons of African, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native descent; there also is a similar underrepresentation of ethnic minorities among providers of substance abuse and mental health services;
WHEREAS in 1993, the Association declared by resolution that “APA places a high priority on issues related to the education of ethnic minorities…including planning appropriately diverse curricula, promoting psychology as a course of study and career option as well as recruitment, retention, advising and mentoring of minority students at all levels of education”;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Association affirms its support for training programs in psychology across the educational pipeline (i.e., high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral studies) that seek to prepare ethnic minorities for behavioral, social sciences, and biomedical research careers and behavioral and mental health services careers that address the needs of the nation’s increasing racial and ethnic diverse populations;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that APA will maintain and strengthen, as resources become available, its advocacy efforts targeted to (a) the U.S. Congress, (b) major federal research agencies, (c) major federal behavioral/mental health services agencies, (d) other federal agencies engaged in support of behavioral/mental health research and services training, and (e) other public and private entities that support behavioral/mental health research and services.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that such advocacy efforts will include but not be limited to the following objectives: (a) to increase public and private investment in training programs, across the educational pipeline, that seek to prepare ethnic minorities and others for research and services careers that address the needs of the nation’s racial and ethnic diverse populations; (b) to oppose reductions in the allocations, appropriations or budgets for such training programs; and (c) to ensure, whenever feasible, that psychology is recognized as an eligible discipline for funding applications for such training programs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, as resources become available, the Association increase its workforce research and data collection efforts related to both the characteristics and outcomes of ethnic minority training programs in behavioral/mental health research and services, as well as the changing priorities, activities and funding of program offices of those federal agencies and major foundations that fund such programs.
Brett, K.M., Hayes, S.G. (2004). Women’s health and mortality chartbook. Washington, DC: DHHS Office on Women’s Health. Retrieved October 9, 2006, from http:/www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/healthywomen/coverplus.pdf
National Center for Health Statistics. (2004). Health, United States, 2004 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Shavers, V. L., & Shavers, B. S. (2006). Racism and health inequity among Americans. Journal of the National Medical Association, 98, 386-396.
Smedley, B. D., Stith, A.Y., & Nelson, A. R. (Eds.). (2003). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2005, December). 2005 national healthcare disparities report. Rockville, MD: Author.
The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation (Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith, 1981; Bullough, 1976; Ford & Beach 1951; Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953). Homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder (APA, 1975). Since 1974, the American Psychological Association (APA) has opposed stigma, prejudice, discrimination, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and has taken a leadership role in supporting the equal rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (APA, 2005).
APA is concerned about ongoing efforts to mischaracterize homosexuality and promote the notion that sexual orientation can be changed and about the resurgence of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) . SOCE has been controversial due to tensions between the values held by some faith-based organizations, on the one hand, and those held by lesbian, gay and bisexual rights organizations and professional and scientific organizations, on the other (Drescher, 2003; Drescher & Zucker, 2006). Some individuals and groups have promoted the idea of homosexuality as symptomatic of developmental defects or spiritual and moral failings and have argued that SOCE, including psychotherapy and religious efforts, could alter homosexual feelings and behaviors (Drescher & Zucker, 2006; Morrow & Beckstead, 2004). Many of these individuals and groups appeared to be embedded within the larger context of conservative religious political movements that have supported the stigmatization of homosexuality on political or religious grounds (Drescher, 2003; Southern Poverty Law Center, 2005; Drescher & Zucker, 2006). Psychology, as a science, and various faith traditions, as theological systems, can acknowledge and respect their profoundly different methodological and philosophical viewpoints. The APA concludes that psychology must rely on proven methods of scientific inquiry based on empirical data, on which hypotheses and propositions are confirmed or disconfirmed, as the basis to explore and understand human behavior (APA, 2008a; 2008b).
In response to these concerns, APA appointed the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation to review the available research on SOCE and to provide recommendations to the Association. The Task Force reached the following findings.
Recent studies of participants in SOCE identify a population of individuals who experience serious distress related to same sex sexual attractions. Most of these participants are Caucasian males who report that their religion is extremely important to them (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000; Schaeffer, Hyde, Kroencke, McCormick, & Nottebaum, 2000; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002, Spitzer, 2003). These individuals report having pursued a variety of religious and secular efforts intended to help them to change their sexual orientation. To date, the research has not fully addressed age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, disability, language, and socioeconomic status in the population of distressed individuals.
There are no studies of adequate scientific rigor to conclude whether or not recent SOCE do or do not work to change a person's sexual orientation. Scientifically rigorous older work in this area (e.g., Birk, Huddleston, Miller, & Cohler, 1971; James, 1978; McConaghy, 1969, 1976;
1 The APA uses the term sexual orientation change efforts to describe all means to change sexual orientation (e.g., behavioral techniques, psychoanalytic techniques, medical approaches, religious and spiritual approaches). This includes those efforts by mental health professionals, lay individuals, including religious professionals, religious leaders, social groups, and other lay networks such as self-help groups.
McConaghy, Proctor, & Barr, 1972; Tanner, 1974, 1975) found that sexual orientation (i.e., erotic attractions and sexual arousal oriented to one sex or the other, or both) was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Some individuals appeared to learn how to ignore or limit their attractions. However, this was much less likely to be true for people whose sexual attractions were initially limited to people of the same sex.
Although sound data on the safety of SOCE are extremely limited, some individuals reported being harmed by SOCE. Distress and depression were exacerbated. Belief in the hope of sexual orientation change followed by the failure of the treatment was identified as a significant cause of distress and negative self-image (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002).
Although there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation, some individuals modified their sexual orientation identity (i.e., group membership and affiliation), behavior, and values (Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000). They did so in a variety of ways and with varied and unpredictable outcomes, some of which were temporary (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002). Based on the available data, additional claims about the meaning of those outcomes are scientifically unsupported.
On the basis of the Task Force’s findings, the APA encourages mental health professionals to provide assistance to those who seek sexual orientation change by utilizing affirmative multiculturally competent (Bartoli & Gillem, 2008; Brown, 2006) and client-centered approaches (e.g., Beckstead & Israel, 2007; Glassgold, 2008; Haldeman, 2004; Lasser & Gottlieb, 2004) that recognize the negative impact of social stigma on sexual minorities (Herek, 2009; Herek & Garnets, 2007) and balance ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence, justice, and respect for people’s rights and dignity (APA, 1998, 2002; Davison, 1976; Haldeman, 2002; Schneider, Brown, & Glassgold, 2002).
WHEREAS The American Psychological Association expressly opposes prejudice (defined broadly) and discrimination based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, or socioeconomic status (American Psychological Association, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008b);
WHEREAS The American Psychological Association takes a leadership role in opposing prejudice and discrimination (APA, 2008b, 2008c), including prejudice based on or derived from religion or spirituality, and encourages commensurate consideration of religion and spirituality as diversity variables (APA, 2008b);
WHEREAS Psychologists respect human diversity including age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status (APA, 2002) and psychologists strive to prevent bias from their own spiritual, religious, or non-religious beliefs from taking precedence over professional practice and standards or scientific findings in their work as psychologists (APA, 2008b);
WHEREAS Psychologists are encouraged to recognize that it is outside the role and expertise of psychologists, as psychologists, to adjudicate religious or spiritual tenets, while also recognizing that psychologists can appropriately speak to the psychological implications of religious/spiritual beliefs or practices when relevant psychological findings about those implications exist (APA, 2008b);
2 The Task Force uses the term sexual minority (cf. Ullerstam, 1966; Blumenfeld, 1992; McCarn & Fassinger, 1996) to designate the entire group of individuals who experience significant erotic and romantic attractions to adult members of their own sex, including those who experience attractions to members of both their own and the other sex. This term is used because the Task Force recognizes that not all sexual minority individuals adopt a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity.
WHEREAS Those operating from religious/spiritual traditions are encouraged to recognize that it is outside their role and expertise to adjudicate empirical scientific issues in psychology, while also recognizing they can appropriately speak to theological implications of psychological science (APA, 2008b);
WHEREAS The American Psychological Association encourages collaborative activities in pursuit of shared prosocial goals between psychologists and religious communities when such collaboration can be done in a mutually respectful manner that is consistent with psychologists’ professional and scientific roles (APA, 2008b);
WHEREAS Societal ignorance and prejudice about a same-sex sexual orientation places some sexual minorities2 at risk for seeking sexual orientation change due to personal, family, or religious conflicts, or lack of information (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Haldeman, 1994; Ponticelli, 1999; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002; Wolkomir, 2001);
WHEREAS Some mental health professionals advocate treatments based on the premise that homosexuality is a mental disorder (e.g., Nicolosi, 1991; Socarides, 1968);
WHEREAS Sexual minority children and youth are especially vulnerable populations with unique developmental tasks (Perrin, 2002; Ryan & Futterman, 1997), who lack adequate legal protection from involuntary or coercive treatment (Arriola, 1998; Burack & Josephson, 2005; Molnar, 1997) and whose parents and guardians need accurate information to make informed decisions regarding their development and well-being (Cianciotto & Cahill, 2006; Ryan & Futterman, 1997); and
WHEREAS Research has shown that family rejection is a predictor of negative outcomes (Remafedi, Farrow, & Deisher, 1991; Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009; Savin-Williams, 1994; Wilber, Ryan, & Marksamer, 2006) and that parental acceptance and school support are protective factors (D’Augelli, 2003; D’Augelli, Hershberger & Pilkington, 1998; Goodenow, Szalacha, & Westheimer, 2006; Savin-Williams, 1989) for sexual minority youth;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association affirms that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association reaffirms its position that homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder and opposes portrayals of sexual minority youths and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation when providing assistance to individuals distressed by their own or others’ sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association concludes that the benefits reported by participants in sexual orientation change efforts can be gained through approaches that do not attempt to change sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association concludes that the emerging knowledge on affirmative multiculturally competent treatment provides a foundation for an appropriate evidence-based practice with children, adolescents and adults who are distressed by or seek to change their sexual orientation (Bartoli & Gillem, 2008; Brown, 2006; Martell, Safren & Prince, 2004; Ryan & Futterman, 1997; Norcross, 2002);
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association advises parents, guardians, young people, and their families to avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and to seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support, and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association encourages practitioners to consider the ethical concerns outlined in the 1997 APA Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Response to Sexual Orientation (American Psychological Association, 1998), in particular the following standards and principles: scientific bases for professional judgments, benefit and harm, justice, and respect for people’s rights and dignity;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association encourages practitioners to be aware that age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, disability, language, and socioeconomic status may interact with sexual stigma, and contribute to variations in sexual orientation identity development, expression, and experience;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association opposes the distortion and selective use of scientific data about homosexuality by individuals and organizations seeking to influence public policy and public opinion and will take a leadership role in responding to such distortions;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association supports the dissemination of accurate scientific and professional information about sexual orientation in order to counteract bias that is based in lack of knowledge about sexual orientation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the American Psychological Association encourages advocacy groups, elected officials, mental health professionals, policy makers, religious professionals and organizations, and other organizations to seek areas of collaboration that may promote the wellbeing of sexual minorities.
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WHEREAS in 2005, nearly 2.2 million Americans, or 1 in every 136 U.S. residents, were incarcerated in state or federal prisons or local jails (Harrison & Beck, 2006);
WHEREAS at the end of 2004, over 4.9 million adult men and women were under federal, state, or local probation or parole jurisdiction (Glaze & Palla, 2005);
WHEREAS, nearly 6 in 10 persons in local jails were ethnic or racial minorities (Harrison & Beck, 2006) and, at the end of 2004, 60% of state and federal prisoners were black or Hispanic (Harrison & Beck, 2005);
WHEREAS more than half (54%) of federal prisoners are serving time for a drug offense, but only 11% are incarcerated for a violent offense (The Sentencing Project, 2006);
WHEREAS changes in policies related to drug arrests contributed to an 888% increase between 1986 and 1995 in the number of women incarcerated for drug offenses (Mauer, Potter, & Wolf, 1999) and a 114% increase from 1990 to 2001 in the number of women incarcerated overall (Lee, Genty, & Laver, 2005);
WHEREAS 64% of mothers in state prisons and 84% in federal prisons were living with their children at the time of their admission to prison; in contrast, only half of incarcerated fathers were living with their children at the time of their incarceration (44% for state and 55% for federal prison) (Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2002);
WHEREAS research suggests that offenders and their families 1 face complex and often severe psychological, medical, educational, economic, social, and spiritual challenges (Lewis, Shanok, & Balla, 1979, Seymour, 1998);
WHEREAS on June 30, 2005, the majority of all jail and prison inmates had a mental health problem and female inmates had higher rates of mental health problems than male inmates (James & Glaze, 2006; Abram, Teplin, & McClelland, 2003; Lamb & Weinberger, 1998);
WHEREAS the high rate of incarceration in the U.S. has been devastating socially and economically to children, their families, and communities (Family Strengthening Policy Center, 2005);
WHEREAS more than 2 million children had a parent behind bars in 2004, and approximately 10 million, or 1 in 8 of America’s children had experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives (Bernstein, 2004);
WHEREAS when parents are incarcerated, the care giving arrangements for children frequently are disrupted, and mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and foster parents often must raise children often without much financial or social support (Travis, 2005);
WHEREAS when a father is incarcerated, children and their mothers may suffer economically from the loss of financial support (Travis, McBride, & Solomon, 2005);
WHEREAS when a mother is incarcerated, children are most likely to live with their grandparents (Travis, McBride, & Solomon, 2005);
1 Families are defined broadly to include diverse family structures, including grandparents raising grandchildren and same-gender couples and their children.
WHEREAS research has shown that grandparents caring for their grandchildren often experience mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and low life satisfaction (Gerard, Landry-Meyer, & Roe (2006);
WHEREAS children with incarcerated mothers and fathers are at very high risk of a variety of emotional and behavioral problems because of the stress of separation from their parent, stigma associated with having an imprisoned parent, loss of emotional support, fear for their parent’s safety, and uncertainty or confusion about what has happened to their parent (Seymour, 1998);
WHEREAS it has been estimated that as much as 70% of young children (ages 2 to 6 years old) with a mother incarcerated have displayed symptoms that research suggests are associated with insecure attachments, including internalizing problems such as anxiety, withdrawal, hyper vigilance, depression, shame and guilt, and externalizing behaviors such as anger, aggression, and hostility toward caregivers and siblings (Baunach, 1985; Johnson, 1995; Parke & Clarke-Steward, 2003);
WHEREAS children with incarcerated parents are six times more likely than their peers to become criminally involved and incarcerated during their lives (Bilchik, Seymour, & Kreisher, 2001);
WHEREAS families of inmates typically receive few services, and they often lack even basic support and information as they deal with the offender’s prosecution, punishment, and reentry (Travis, Solomon, & Waul, 2001);
WHEREAS some families of inmates have been doubly victimized – by the offender himself or herself and unintentionally by the system that fails to provide them with adequate support (Travis, Solomon, & Waul, 2001);
WHEREAS research indicates that policies and practices, including prison visitation policies, often make maintenance of relationships difficult when a family member is incarcerated, and that the lack of support to families of offenders can weaken family ties and make family reunification even more difficult when the offender is released (Travis, 2005);
WHEREAS nearly 95% of offenders in state prisons will eventually be released (Hughes & Wilson, 2004) without support, most will face multiple barriers to successful reintegration, including difficulty in accessing health, mental health, and drug and alcohol treatment services (Travis, 2005);
WHEREAS federal initiatives to facilitate offender reentry are underemphasizing the needs and contributions of family members despite research that documents the importance of the family in the reentry process (Travis, Solomon, & Waul, 2001);
WHEREAS all of these issues apply as well to families of juveniles in the juvenile and criminal justice systems (some of whom are parents themselves) and the juveniles themselves;
WHEREAS psychologists can and should contribute significantly to advancing the state of knowledge regarding families of offenders, including their children; and
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association is committed to promoting the health and well-being of children, youth, and families,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association urges:
(a) the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institute of Corrections to support research (i) to illuminate the experiences of children of offenders and their families, (ii) to identify the needs, resilience, and protective factors that reduce the involvement of offenders and their children in drugs or criminal activity and (iii) to develop and evaluate models of emotional, social, and economic support for such families;
(b) the Center for Mental Health Services, state mental health agencies, and community mental health centers to place a high priority on the development of services for families of defendants and offenders that not only address the families’ needs but that also mobilize resilience and protective factors in prevention programs;
(c) state and federal courts to strive to ensure that services are available for (i) education of families of defendants about the legal process and (ii) minimization of psychological, social, and economic harm to innocent family members;
(d) social service and health agencies to provide appropriate educational, physical, and mental health services for children of incarcerated parents and their family members,
(e) the U.S. Department of Education and state educational agencies to develop training and other services to strengthen the ability of teachers, counselors, and other school professionals to identify and support children with incarcerated parents and their families;
(f) the relevant federal agencies to develop training programs, including internships, postdoctoral, and continuing education, to increase mental health and social service professionals’ capacity to work effectively with families of offenders;
(g) psychologists and other mental health professionals working in the juvenile and criminal justice system to strive to ensure that attention is given to the needs and potential contributions of offender’s family members.
(h) psychologists and other mental health and social services professionals to provide services to incarcerated parents to strengthen their parenting and employment skills and to assist them as they leave prison and reenter their families and communities.
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Mauer, M., Potler, C., & Wolf, R. (1999). Gender and justice: Women , drugs and sentencing policy. Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project.
Parke, R., & Clarke-Stewart, K.A. (2003). Effects of parental incarceration on children. In J.
Travis & M. Waul (Eds.), Prisoners once removed, The impact of incarceration and reentry on children, families, and communities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
The Sentencing Project (2006). New incarceration figures: Thirty-three consecutive years of growth. Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project. Retrieved on September 9, 2006, from http://www.sentencingproject.org/pdfs/1044.pdf
Seymour, C. (1998). Children with parents in prison: Child welfare policy, program, and practice issues. Child Welfare, 77, 469-493.
Travis, J. (2005). But they all come back: Facing the challenges of prisoners reentry. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
Travis, J., McBride, E.C., & Solomon, A.L. (2005). Families left behind: The hidden costs of incarceration and reentry. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Travis, J., Solomon, A., & Waul, M. (2001, June). From prison to home: The dimensions and consequences of prisoner reentry. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
WHEREAS human trafficking has become more widespread in recent years and there are an estimated 12 million affected persons worldwide (although estimates vary from 4 to 27 million; United States Department of State, 2008);
WHEREAS the number of trafficked persons living in the United States is hard to determine, but the Government Accounting Office (2006) estimates that between 14,000 and 17,000 persons are trafficked into the United States every year, and Americans may also financially support human trafficking if they purchase goods made from exploited labor or participate in sex trade tourism;
WHEREAS trafficking can take many forms including labor in factories, farms, or homes, but most of the transnational trafficked persons are forced into prostitution (United States Department of State, 2008);
WHEREAS women (Bryant-Davis, Tillman, Marks, & Smith, 2009) and children (van de Glind & Kooijman, 2008) are disproportionately subjected to trafficking;
WHEREAS human trafficking often involves organized criminal activity (Government Accounting Office, 2006);
WHEREAS, despite gaps in the research literature, trafficked persons who have experienced torture and psychological abuse often require access to human services and treatment of psychological and physical disorders in order to establish the capacity to lead normal lives (Zimmerman et al., 2008);
WHEREAS there is an urgent need to explore the social causes of trafficking, to collect data, and to conduct more research, despite the enormous logistical problems involved in conducting such research;
WHEREAS trafficking violates rudimentary human rights and offends our most cherished values;
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association has taken positions promoting self-determination and dignity for all persons including endorsing rights for women and children, human rights, rights of immigrant workers, and opposition to racism, torture, and to other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishment;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association:
Commits itself to promoting public awareness of the presence of human trafficking consistent with its mission;
Commends individuals, nongovernmental organizations, and governments that are working to create public awareness of human trafficking, to prevent human trafficking and to emancipate trafficked persons, and to assist them in obtaining human services and health care including attention to their psychological needs;
Urges funded research on the social and cultural underpinnings of human trafficking, ways to assist trafficked persons, and research into psychological treatments and educational needs for trafficked persons, consist with their unique circumstances; and
Urges the United States government, state and local governments, foreign governments, and international non-governmental organizations to work assiduously to end human trafficking and to assist its victims.
Bryant-Davis, T., Tillman, S., Marks, A., & Smith, K. (2009). Millennium abolitionists: Addressing the sexual trafficking of African women. Beliefs and Values, 1, 69-78.
Government Accounting Office. (2006). Human Trafficking. Washington, DC. Retrieved May 5, 2009 from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06825.pdf
United States Department of State. (2008). Trafficking in Persons Report, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2009 from http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008/105376.htm.
van de Glind, H., & Kooijmans, J. (2008). Modern-day child slavery. Children and Society, 22, 150-166.
Zimmerman, C., Hossain, M., Yun, K., Gajdadziev, V., Guzun, N., Tchomarova, M., et al. (2008). The health of trafficked women: A study of women entering posttrafficking services in Europe. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 55-59.
WHEREAS safe, stable, affordable, accessible and permanent housing is a basic need, and its absence negatively impacts typical development, physical and mental health, academic success, family cohesion, and the ability to exercise individual rights and responsibilities (e.g. Zlotnick & Zerger, 2008; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2003; Donahue & Tuber, 1995; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2009);
WHEREAS homelessness and risk of homelessness is matter of public health concern (e.g. Krieger & Higgins, 2002; Schnazer Dominguez, Shrout & Caton, 2007);
WHEREAS populations who have historically been discriminated against and marginalized have been disproportionately affected by the lack of affordable, accessible, safe and stable housing. Such oppressed groups include: racial and ethnic minorities, (e.g. African Americans, Native Americans), refugees and immigrants, older adults, veterans, persons with disabilities, including mental illness, female heads of household with children and youth, unaccompanied youth -- many of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and/or youth aging out of foster care systems (e.g. Lehman and Cordray, 1993; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008; U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2009; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2009; Toro, Dworsky & Fowler, 2007; Shinn, 2007; Cochran, Stewart, Ginzler & Cauce, 2002);
WHEREAS ethnic minorities and marginalized persons including women have been disproportionately impacted by subprime loans, lower incomes, lower salaries, and higher unemployment rates which all contribute to homelessness (Manneh, 2008);
WHEREAS in times of economic downturn, job loss and high rates of underemployment and unemployment, more persons in urban, suburban and rural areas lose their homes, or are at risk of homelessness (e.g. U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2009; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2008); and where ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable and at risk for losing the most (Manneh, 2008);
WHEREAS homelessness results from structural systemic issues including the lack of affordable housing; insufficient supportive community-based services, especially those intended to treat mental illnesses and/or substance abuse; under-funded schools that cannot adequately build foundations for academic or vocational success; limited job training programs and opportunities; a shortage of affordable day care and after school programs to support female-headed families; job layoffs; underemployment and unemployment; and escalating costs of food, housing and transportation (e.g. Bosman, 2009; National Alliance to End Homelessness (2009, 2010); National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009); Rafferty & Shinn, 1991; Zlotnick, Robertson, & Lahiff, 1999);
WHEREAS psychosocial stressors impacting mental and physical health are often associated with entrance into and exit from homelessness, and where expanded access to culturally competent, community-based prevention, intervention and treatment services, along with structural changes, contributes to the remediation of homelessness (e.g. Burt et al., 1999; Burt, Person & Montgomery, 2007; Haber & Toro, 2004; Morse et al., 1996);
WHEREAS the field of psychology is uniquely poised to contribute to the amelioration of homelessness through scientific research, program design and evaluation, education and training, advocacy, and the culturally competent assessment and treatment of persons across the life span who are without homes or at risk of homelessness (e.g. Haber & Toro, 2004; Shinn, 1992);
And WHEREAS psychologists aspire to enhance the physical, emotional and behavioral well being of all persons, especially those who are marginalized and most vulnerable (Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network, 2000; 2003).
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that:
the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association reaffirm its commitment to advance psychology’s contributions to ending homelessness in the following actions:
Direct research efforts towards the prevention of homelessness in marginalized and vulnerable populations; design a plan to disseminate an evidence-based intervention plan for those currently experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness; support and/or conduct applied research on service utilization among chronically and pervasively mentally ill populations at risk for homelessness; and the evaluation of programs that support rapid return to stable and permanent housing.
Investigate methods and interventions to promote resilience in different populations at risk for homelessness including those within rural versus urban areas, single males versus female heads of household with children, unaccompanied youth (many of whom are gay, lesbian or transgendered and/or youth aging out of foster care systems), racial and ethnic minorities (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans), refugees and immigrants, persons reentering communities following incarceration, older adults, veterans, or persons with disabilities including mental illness (among other vulnerable populations). Recognize that implementation success may well require a change in approach, such as reducing the use of substance abuse as a basis of denial for shelter or services (Kosa, 2009; U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2008).
Recommend training and educational practices that enhance the ability of psychologists to work effectively with populations at risk of homelessness or currently living without homes by expanding graduate school curricula focused on diverse and underserved populations; creating internships and continuing education to encourage psychologists to work with populations experiencing homelessness; and enlisting psychologists to offer appropriate mental health education programs to service providers, community-based organizations, community volunteers and the public at large focused on the remediation of homelessness.
Encourage psychologists to provide strength based clinical and assessment services to populations who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Culturally competent services shall address a continuum of needs and focus on serving people in the communities in which they and their families live, and will take into consideration how specific structural systemic issues interact in different combinations and in different ways for specific populations. Psychologists are encouraged to establish meaningful collaborations with physicians, nurses, social workers, educators, service providers and advocates committed to addressing the multifaceted needs of persons who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their homes.
Promote and advocate for policies and legislation that support the rapid reentry of persons into stable, safe, affordable and permanent housing. Including:
Legislation that funds comprehensive services as well as safe, stable, affordable least restrictive and most appropriate and accessible housing in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Advocate for funding for targeted comprehensive services, education and job training opportunities for youth in foster care, and for transitional services for those returning to home placement and/or communities.
Advocate for education, job training and affordable day care to support families, including but not limited to poor and low income families.
Legislation that would provide expanded funding for a range of mental health services for families, including but not limited to at risk families, unaccompanied youth and children in foster care placements, as well as persons of all ages with disabilities.
Advocate for health care coverage for those without homes and at risk of losing stable or permanent housing.
Advocate for an increase in mental health, substance abuse and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Advocate for comprehensive supportive services that promote the strengthening of families.
Advocate that public funds be provided to finance not only emergency responses to homelessness, but also to implement preventative programs to reduce the incidence and prevalence of homeless persons and families.
Advocate for stricter regulations governing financial institutions, predatory lending, credit, and mortgage practices.
Disseminate accurate information about homelessness to psychologists, policymakers, and the public to call attention to structural systemic issues that exacerbate homelessness. Suggest both psychological (e.g. clinical) and systemic structural interventions for those who suffer the consequences of poverty and homelessness.
Bosman, J. (2009, July 28). Homeless families could face eviction from shelters over rules. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Burt, M. R., Aron, L. Y., Douglas, T., Valente, J., Lee, E., & Iwen, B. (1999). Homelessness: Programs and the people they serve (summary report). Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Burt, M. R., Pearson, C., & Montgomery, A.E. (2007). Community wide strategies for preventing homelessness. Journal of Primary Prevention, 28, 265-279.
Cochran, B. N., Stewart, A. J., Ginzler, J. A., & Cauce, A. M. (2002). Challenges faced by homeless sexual minorities: Comparison of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender homeless adolescents with their heterosexual counterparts. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 773-777.
Donahue, P. J. & Tuber, S. B. (1995). The impact of homelessness on children’s level of aspiration. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 59, 249-255.
Haber, M., & Toro, P. A. (2004). Homelessness among families, children and adolescents: An ecological-developmental perspective. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 7, 123-164. http://usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/USCMHungercompleteWEB2009.pdf
Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network. (2000). Mental illness, chronic homelessness: An American disgrace. Healing Hands, 4(5), 1-2. Retrieved from: http://www.nhchc.org/Network/HealingHands/2000/October2000HealingHands.pdf
Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network. (2003). Homelessness and family trauma: The case for early intervention. Healing Hands, 7(2), 1-3. Retrieved from: http://www.nhchc.org/Network/HealingHands/2003/hh-0503.pdfKrieger, J., & Higgins, D. L. (2002). Housing and health: Time again for public health action. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 758-768.
Kosa, F. (2009). The homemakers. Miller-McCune, March-April, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2010 http://www.miller-mccune.com/business-economics/the-homemakers-3843/
Lehman, A. F., & Cordray, D. S. (1993). Prevalence of alcohol, drug, and mental disorders among the homeless: One more time. Contemporary Drug Problems, 20, 355-383.
Manneh, S. (2008). In economic downshift, minorities risk losing most. Retrieved from http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=8066e344ffa64d97566b5fe357992b20&from=rss
Morse, G. A., Calsyn, R. J., Miller, J., Rosenberg, P., West, L., & Gilliland, J. (1996). Outreach to homeless mentally ill people: Conceptual and clinical considerations. Community Mental Health Journal, 32, 261-274.
National Coalition for the Homeless (2009, July). Fact sheet: Who is homeless? Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 22, 2010 http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/Whois.pdf
National Alliance to End Homelessness (2010, March). Chronic homelessness: Policy solutions. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 22, 2010 http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2685
National Alliance to End Homelessness (2009, Sept). Geography of homelessness, Part 3: Subpopulations by geographic type. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 22, 2010 http://www.endhomelessness.org/content/article/detail/2529
Rafferty, Y., & Shinn, M. (1991). The impact of homelessness on children. American Psychologist, 46, 1170-1179.
Schnazer, B., Dominguez, B., Shrout, P. E., & Caton, C. L. (2007) Homelessness, health status and health care use. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 464-469.
Shinn, M. (1992). Homelessness: What is a psychologist to do? American Journal of Community Psychology, 20, 1-24.
Shinn, M. (2007). International homelessness: Policy, socio-cultural, and individual Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2003). Blueprint for change: Ending chronic homelessness for people with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Toro, P. A., Dworsky, A., & Fowler, P.J. (2007). Homeless youth in the United States: Recent research findings and intervention approaches. In D. Dennis, G. Locke, & J. Khadduri (Eds.), Toward understanding homelessness: The 2007 National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. Conference of Mayors (2008). Hunger and homelessness survey: A status report on hunger and homelessness in America’s cities. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://usmayors.org/pressreleases/documents/hungerhomelessnessreport_
U.S. Conference of Mayors (2009). Hunger and homelessness survey: A status report on hunger and homelessness in America’s cities. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://usmayors.org/pressreleases/uploads/USCMHungercompleteWEB2009.pdf
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (2008, March). Inventory of federal programs that may assist homeless families with children. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 23, 2010 http://www.usich.gov/library/publications/FamilyInventory_Mar2008.pdf
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (2008): The 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website: http://www.hudhre.info/documents/4thHomelessAssessmentReport.pdf
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (2008): The 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website: http://www.hudhre.info/documents/4thHomelessAssessmentReport.pdf
Zlotnick, C., & Zerger, S. (2008). Survey findings on characteristics and health status of clients treated by the federally funded (US) Health Care for the Homeless Program. Health and Social Care in the Community, 17, 18–26.
Zlotnick, C., Robertson, M. J., & Lahiff, M. (1999). Getting off the streets: Economic resources and residential exits from homelessness, Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 209-224.
Guidelines for assessment of and intervention with persons with disabilities
Guidelines for the evaluation of dementia and age-related cognitive change
(Also included in Section X: Professional Affairs.)