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Paul Sterzing

Assistant Professor

PAUL STERZING is an assistant professor at the School of Social Welfare and a graduate of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Sterzing is currently the Co-Chair of the MSW Program, Co-Director of the Center for Prevention Research in Social Welfare, a faculty affiliate with the Gender and Women Studies Department, and a research affiliate with the Center for Violence and Injury Prevention (Washington University in St. Louis).

Dr. Sterzing is the PI on a three-year study entitled "SpeakOut," which is funded by the National Institute of Justice (2013-IJ-CX-0029; $456,606). SpeakOut identified the polyvictimization rates (i.e., experiencing 15 or more different types of victimization across childhood and adolescence) for a large, national sample of sexual and gender minority adolescents (N=1,177). The study utilized an online survey advertised through Facebook and LGBTQ youth organizations from across the country. This study is the first to provide a comprehensive examination of more than 40 different forms of victimization across multiple contexts (e.g., home, school, community) and perpetrators (e.g., parents, siblings, peers, dating partners).

Additionally, this study introduced two new family typologies — homo/transpositive microaffirming and homo/transnegative microaggressing — to explain differential rates of internalizing problems, peer rejection, extrafamilial victimization, and polyvictimization. Overall, SpeakOut has shown us that sexual and gender minority adolescents in families with high-levels of microaggressions, violence, and non-violent adversity are at greater risk for polyvictimization, with posttraumatic stress functioning as the primary mechanism bridging familial and extrafamilial forms of victimization. These findings suggest addressing trauma symptoms related to family experiences of microaggressions, violence, and non-violent adversity can reduce rates of peer rejection, extrafamilial victimization, and polyvictimization for vulnerable adolescent population. The long-term goals of the project are to inform new policies, practices, and interventions that endeavor to prevent and reduce rates of victimization for this adolescent population.

Research/Expertise

  • Polyvictimization of vulnerable adolescents
  • Bullying involvement roles and peer rejection
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity microaggressions
  • Impact of family-level homo/transpositivity and homo/trannegativity on mental health and extrafamilial forms of victimization
  • Impact of mental and behavioral health problems on rates of revictimization

Teaching

COURSES

  • MSW: Theories for Multi-Level Practice (SW 200)
  • MSW: Seminar in Social Welfare Research (SW 282a / SW 282b)
  • Doctoral: Group Study in Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Research (SW 298)

Current Projects

In the News

SpeakOut - National LGBTQ Youth Victimization Study
SpeakOut - Importance of the Study
SpeakOut Consent Video

Awards/Honors

Honorable Mention for Outstanding Social Work Doctoral Dissertation Award, Society for Social Work and Research"Risk and Protective Factors for Bullying Victimization among Sexual Minority Youths."

Curriculum Vitae