Whitney S. Rice
Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Rice's research primarily explores psychosocial and intersectional determinants of reproductive, maternal-infant, and HIV-related health service utilization and health outcomes, particularly among marginalized populations. Her dissertation examined the role of stigma around unintended pregnancy and pregnancy decisions (i.e. abortion, adoption, parenting) in young women's sexual and reproductive health behavior. This work has led to collaborations on projects that seek to develop and test novel reproductive stigma interventions. Rice's current postdoctoral research also investigates the processes by which HIV-related stigma may affect HIV medication adherence, clinic visit attendance, and viral suppression, as well as disparities in these outcomes, among women living with HIV. Her additional recent projects examine age, race and nativity-patterns in healthcare service utilization, as well as fetal and infant mortality.
Examines the role of social perceptions about unintended pregnancy in young women's use of any contraceptive and in dual contraceptive method use (use of both long-acting contraceptives and condoms). Finds that young women in Alabama who perceived that their own unintended pregnancy would be disapproved of by close others were more likely to use any contraception, and young women who agreed with negative perceptions of a young woman who has an unintended pregnancy were less likely to use dual methods.
Investigates the relationship between internalized HIV-related stigma (or negative self perception regarding having HIV) on attendance at scheduled HIV care visits and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (medication to treat HIV) among people living with HIV in Birmingham, AL. Indicates an association between internalized HIV stigma and HIV care visit adherence, as well as on adherence through HIV care visit adherence; suggesting multiple intervention targets to promote engagement in HIV care.
Studies the implications of racial difference for infant health outcomes among Hispanic and non-Hispanic ethnic groups using national data from 2007-2008 infant birth records. Finds that the risk of infant mortality varies among Hispanic infants and non-Hispanic infants by race; with poorer outcomes experienced by Hispanic black and to a greater degree, non-Hispanic black infants.
Describes the development of the Parenting, Adoption, and Abortion Norms and Stigma Scales, three distinct, multidimensional, and psychometrically valid measures of norms and stigma around potential pregnancy decisions in the context of unintended pregnancy among young women. These scales can be used in research examining the role of reproductive stigma in pregnancy decision-making and may also be used in the evaluation of programs and interventions that aim to reduce stigma associated with unintended pregnancy and pregnancy decisions.
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.