DiBennardo, Rebecca. “Ideal Victims and Monstrous Offenders: News Media and the Rise of Sexual Predator Discourse.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, October 2018.

Access: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2378023118802512

Drawing on content analysis of 323 Los Angeles Times articles published between 1990 and 2015, this article examines how news reports represent sexual predator victims and offenders in order to examine how such narratives construct images of the sexual predatory. Results demonstrate that representations of the sexually predatory are aged and gendered: stories about child victims encompass more sexual violence, graphic descriptions of that violence, more male victims, and older offenders. Articles use child victims as a rhetorical tool to emphasize the “predatory” nature of offenders and justify retributory violence or harsh legal punishment against sexual predators. Narratives about adult victims focus mainly on women, framing them as responsible for their victimization and minimizing their importance relative to child victims. The cumulative effect of this coverage narrows representations of victims and violence, contributing key dynamics to both the social and legal predator template.


DiBennardo, Rebecca and Abigail C. Saguy. “How Children of LGBQ Parents Negotiate Courtesy Stigma Over the Life Course.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, August 2018.

Access: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol19/iss6/19

Drawing on in-depth interviews with 28 U.S. adults who have at least one lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer (LGBQ) parent, we examine how this group negotiates the courtesy stigma of a parent’s sexual identity over the life course. Respondents reported less control over revealing courtesy stigma during childhood, when they were closely linked to their parents, but increased ability to conceal parents’ sexual orientation as they aged. During childhood and adolescence, parents’ gender presentation and choice of partner(s) impacted the visibility and degree of courtesy stigma, as did their peer networks and social environments. As adults, respondents continued to face issues of visibility; those who identified as heterosexual struggled to gain acceptance within LGBQ communities, while those who identified as LGBQ negotiated fears about how their own sexual orientation reflected upon their families of origin. Recognizing that people with one or more LGBQ parents face courtesy—rather than direct—stigma sheds light on past research, while providing a sociological framework with which to analyze future work on this population.


Angela M. Parcesepe, Aira Toivgoo, Mingway Chang, Marion Riedel, Catherine Carlson, Rebecca DiBennardo, and Susan S. Witte.Physical and Sexual Violence, Childhood Sexual Abuse and HIV/STI Risk Behavior Among Alcohol-Using Women Engaged in Sex Work in Mongolia.” Global Public Health, November 2014.

Access: https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2014.976240

Although the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Mongolia is low, it could increase without strategic prevention strategies. Female sex workers (FSWs) often experience barriers to prevention, including interpersonal violence. This study investigated if childhood sexual abuse (CSA) or recent physical or sexual violence was associated with HIV sexual risk behaviours and if CSA modified associations between recent violence and HIV sexual risk behaviours. Two-hundred twenty-two women who (1) were at least 18 years old and clients at the National AIDS Foundation; (2) reported vaginal or anal sex in the past 90 days in exchange for money or goods and (3) met criteria for harmful alcohol use in the past year were enrolled. In-person interviews assessed sexual risk behaviours and violence in childhood and adulthood. Negative binomial regression, ordinary least squares regression and modified Poisson regression were performed. Sexual risk with paying partners was associated with penetrative CSA and sexual violence by paying partners. CSA and recent violence were not associated with sexual risk behaviours with intimate partners. CSA modified the association between recent sexual violence and unprotected sex with intimate partners. Findings highlight the need for integrated violence and sexual risk reduction services to ensure safe and effective prevention for FSWs.


DiBennardo, Rebecca, and Gary Gates. “US Census Same-Sex Couple Data: Adjustments to Reduce Measurement Error and Empirical Implications.” Population Research and Policy Review, July 2013.

Access: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11113-013-9289-2

US Census same-sex couple data represent one of the richest and most frequently used data resources for studying the LGBT population. Recently, the Census Bureau conducted an analysis of a serious measurement problem in these data, finding that as many as 40 % of same-sex couples tabulated in Census 2000 and 28 % of those tabulated in Census 2010 were likely misclassified different-sex couples (O’Connell and Feliz, Bureau of the Census, 2011). As a result, the Census Bureau released new state-level “preferred” estimates for the number of same-sex couples in these years, as well as previously unavailable information regarding the error rate of sex misclassification among different-sex married and unmarried couples by state and year. Researchers can use this information to adjust same-sex couple tabulations for geographic areas below the state level. Using these resources, this study: (1) considers in greater detail how the properties of the same-sex couple error might affect statistical inference, (2) offers a method for developing sub-state estimates of same-sex couples, and (3) demonstrates how using adjusted estimates can improve inference in analyses that rely on understanding the distribution of same-sex couples. In order to accomplish the third task, we replicate an analysis by McVeigh and Diaz (American Sociological Review 74: 891–915, 2009) that used county level Census 2000 unadjusted same-sex couple data, substitute our adjusted same-sex couple estimate, and examine the way in which this substitution affects findings. Our results demonstrate the improved accuracy of the adjusted measure and provide the formula that researchers can use to adjust the same-sex couple distribution in future analyses.


Raven, Maria, Gillespie, Colleen, DiBennardo, Rebecca, Van Busum, Kristin, and Brian Elbel. “Vulnerable Patients’ Perceptions of Health Care Quality and Quality Data.” Medical Decision Making, October 2011.

Access: https://doi.org/10.1177/0272989X11421414

Background. Little is known about how patients served by safety-net hospitals utilize and respond to hospital quality data. Objective. To understand how vulnerable, lower income patients make health care decisions and define quality of care and whether hospital quality data factor into such decisions and definitions. Methods. Mixed quantitative and qualitative methods were used to gather primary data from patients at an urban, tertiary-care safety-net hospital. The study hospital is a member of the first public hospital system to voluntarily post hospital quality data online for public access. Patients were recruited from outpatient and inpatient clinics. Surveys were used to collect data on participants’ sociodemographic characteristics, health literacy, health care experiences, and satisfaction variables. Focus groups were used to explore a representative sample of 24 patients’ health care decision making and views of quality. Data from focus group transcripts were iteratively coded and analyzed by the authors. Results. Focus group participants were similar to the broader diverse, low-income clinic population. Participants reported exercising choice in making decisions about where to seek health care. Multiple sources influenced decision-making processes including participants’ own beliefs and values, social influences, and prior experiences. Hospital quality data were notably absent as a source of influence in health care decision making for this population largely because participants were unaware of its existence. Participants’ views of hospital quality were influenced by the quality and efficiency of services provided (with an emphasis on the doctor-patient relationship) and patient centeredness. When presented with it, patients appreciated the hospital quality data and, with guidance, were interested in incorporating it into health care decision making. Conclusions. Results suggest directions for optimizing the presentation, content, and availability of hospital quality data. Future research will explore how similar populations form and make choices based on presentation of hospital quality data.