The HABLa Lab has several ongoing, upcoming, and completed projects. Below are brief summaries of some of these projects:
Substance Use and Violence Exposure Disparities: The HABLa Lab is part of a new NIH-funded Rural Drug Addiction Research (RDAR) Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that will establish the University as a leader on drug abuse research. The center will bring nearly $12 million to the University over at least the next five years. The lab is helping provide Spanish-language support for the center as a whole, which will recruit 600 English and Spanish-speaking rural residents who use drugs, such as opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The LMHT lab will also lead a project focusing on how stress disregulation and violence exposure contribute to drug use.
The Role of Discrimination in Substance Use and Help Seeking among Hispanics and African Americans: As part of Laura Acosta's NIDA-awarded NRSA F31 Predoctoral Fellowship, Laura and the lab will collaborate with the RDAR Center, fellow CPTP faculty member Dr. David DiLillo, Florida International University, and the Medical University of South Carolina to examine the impact of perceived racial and ethnic discrimination on illicit substance use among rural Hispanics and African-Americans. The project will utilize ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods, which conducts real-time, “in-the-moment” assessments through mobile technology.
Mobile Mental Health Disaster Victims: In collaboration with investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Andrews helped develop a disaster mental health app. Specifically, Dr. Andrews led the development of the PTSD treatment portion. This app is currently being tested with victims of Irma, Harvey, and Maria. The HABLa Lab is also leading the translation of the app.
Addressing Other Barriers to Interventions Fotonovelas and social networks: Dr. Andrews recently received an NIH funding through the Great Plain IDeA-CTR in order to develop a fotonovela for Latinx victims of violence. The project will involve novel applications of social network modeling to test how networks (e.g., friends or family) influence service utilization and other help seeking.
Sources of Stress for Latinx Immigrants, immigration trauma: Dr. Andrews is also conducting a series of studies to better investigate the frequency and impact of traumatic events that occur during immigration for Latinxs. This includes investigating the diversity of immigration experiences, particularly ones in which immigration itself is a potentially traumatic event. Finally, these projects will explore factors that may exacerbate the impact of immigration trauma, such as discrimination stress.Sources of Stress for Latinx Immigrants, discrimination: The HABLa lab is currently conducting a series of studies examining predictors of discrimination toward Latinx immigrants and the impact of discrimination. The studies will examine how other stressors, such as prior trauma exposure, may increase the effect of discrimination for Latinx immigrant.
(Mostly) Completed Projects
Covid-19 Attitudes, Risks, & Experiences (CARE) in Latinx communities: The spread of COVID-19 in meatpacking communities has been so severe that it frequently made national headlines. Further, the Nebraska counties with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases per capita all have meatpacking as a substantial economic driver, including (Dodge, Dakota, Dawson, Hall, Madison, and Saline). Moreover, COVID-19 may disproportionately affect the Latinx community. as they are more likely to experience lack of services and occupy jobs that expose them to greater risk of job loss or disease exposure. The anxiety surrounding COVID-19 combined with restricted access to alternate coping strategies, particularly social coping strategies is inherently restricted by the necessary public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The rate of spread has also further restricted healthcare access in areas where healthcare access already presented challenges due to the setting of these areas and at a time when healthcare access for COVID-related symptoms is critical. The project generated phone-based surveys that examined COVID-19 related symptoms and experiences, and overall healthcare access longitudinally to understanding the progression of each as social restrictions and disease risk change over the course of 12 months.
Understanding the Rural Urban Divide in Substance Use and Discrimination during COVID Recovery: COVID-19 may disproportionately affect those who use substances or those in the recovery stage as they are more likely to experience homelessness and occupy jobs that expose them to greater risk of job loss or disease exposure. Such effects may be enhanced for racial/ethnic minority individuals who already face significant disparities in treatment access and drug abuse stereotypes. The anxiety surrounding COVID-19 combined with restricted access to alternate coping strategies, particularly social coping strategies is inherently restricted by the necessary public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. We intend to generate web-based surveys that track substance use, related treatment, and overall healthcare access longitudinally to understanding the progression of each as social restrictions and disease risk change over the course of the next year.
Spanish-language version of WET: The HABLa lab translated Written Exposure Therapy, a novel PTSD treatment that appears to address significant barriers to treatment. The lab is currently conducting a pilot trial of the intervention while seeking feedback from providers and patients regarding barriers to completing the intervention.
Mobile Mental Health in Rural Nebraska: Led by Allura Ralston, a co-mentee with Dr. Deb Hope, the HABLa Lab is working to adapt a mobile application for mental health treatment in rural Nebraska. Initial phases focus on barriers to the use of apps and strategies for addressing them.
Victimization and the role of familial support among Latina women: Led by Laura Acosta, this project examined how the three components of familism differentially predicted Latina depression outcomes, with particular components representing protective factors and others representing potential risk factors.
Community-Based Approaches to Trauma-Focused Care in Colombia: Through collaborations established by graduate student member Natalia Acosta, she and Dr. Andrews will be developing community-focused tools for disseminating trauma-focused treatment strategies. These tools will center on adaptating expressive writing for flexible use with lay and professional providers in Bogotá.
Ethnic Discrimination of Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault, Variation by Victim and Perpetrator Ethnicity: Led and designed by undergraduate lab members, this project examined disparities in outcomes for victims and perpetrators of sexual assault based on the ethnicity of each.