Whitney S. Rice
Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Smith’s research primarily explores social and psychological factors contributing to health disparities in sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health and women’s health among vulnerable populations in the United States. She has experience with mixed methods research projects involving initial use of qualitative research to explore concepts and inform survey tools, and subsequent use of qualitative data to test research questions. She is currently conducting research using these skills to explore the role of stigma around unintended pregnancy and pregnancy decisions (i.e., abortion, adoption, parenting) and test relationships with young women’s sexual and reproductive health risk behavior. Smith is also involved in an investigation of negative health effects of stigma and discrimination among women living with HIV. Additional projects examine age, race and nativity-patterns in healthcare service utilization, as well as fetal and infant mortality.
Examines whether specific interpersonal and psychological mediating mechanisms in the relationship between intersectional stigma and HIV medication adherence among HIV-positive women. Finds that internalized stigma predicted less social support (or higher loneliness), which in turn predicted more depressive symptoms, which in turn predicted sub-optimal medication adherence.
Explores perceptions of norms and stigma related to unintended pregnancy, adoption, abortion, and parenthood, and examined racial and ethnic differences in these perceptions, among young, low-income women in Birmingham, Alabama. Finds that young women in our sample perceived social expectations for pregnancy and parenting, and expressed that stigmatization related to adoption and abortion manifests in the form of negative attitudes, stereotypes, and blame; which may influence young women’s health decision-making.