Yzette Lanier


Yzette Lanier headshot

Yzette Lanier

Assistant Professor

1 212 998 5803

433 First Avenue
Room 406
New York, NY 10010
United States

Accepting PhD students

Yzette Lanier's additional information

Yzette Lanier, PhD, is an assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. As a developmental psychologist, her research broadly centers on health promotion and disease prevention in communities of color, with a special focus on preventing HIV/STIs and unintended pregnancy among African American adolescents. Using health equity and strengths-based lenses, her research seeks to understand how individual, social, and cultural factors influence adolescents’ sexual decision-making. Lanier’s current research examines how adolescent romantic relationships influence sexual behaviors. Her long-term goal is to develop effective developmentally-appropriate, culturally tailored interventions that promote healthy romantic relationships and protective sexual behaviors among adolescents. In June 2016, Lanier was awarded $1.2 million from the CDC for HIV behavior intervention based on young black heterosexual couples' dynamics.  

Lanier earned her PhD and MS in developmental psychology at Howard University. She completed a T32 postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Health Equity Research at the University of Pennsylvania and a postdoctoral research fellowship in HIV prevention in communities of color at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Health Equity Research - University of Pennsylvania
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for HIV Prevention in Communities of Color - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
PhD, Developmental Psychology - Howard University
MS, Developmental Psychology - Howard University
BS, Psychology - Howard University

Infectious disease
Community/population health
Vulnerable & marginalized populations

American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
Association of Black Psychologists
Society for Research on Adolescence

Faculty Honors Awards

Visiting Scholar, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, Yale University


Interpartner Concordance on Relationship Quality and Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Young Pregnant and Parenting Couples

Lanier, Y., Amutah-Onukagha, N., Cornelius, T., Lavarin, C., & Kershaw, T. (2021). Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 48(2), 123-127. 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001281
BACKGROUND: This study examined agreement between partners on perceptions of relationship quality and its impact on later (sexually transmitted infection [STI]) diagnosis in a sample of pregnant (adolescents and young adults [AYAs]) couples. METHODS: Two hundred ninety-six AYA couples completed structured surveys on relationship quality (satisfaction, cohesion, consensus, affectional expression) and STI diagnosis. An actor-partner interdependence model was used to assess actor effects (whether an individual's perceived relationship quality influenced their getting STI), partner effects (whether a partner's perceived relationship quality influenced the individual getting an STI), and interactive effects (whether an individual's perceived relationship quality interacted with a partner's perceived relationship quality and influenced in the individual getting an STI). RESULTS: No significant actor or partner effects were observed for positive STI screen. However, there was a significant interaction between actor and partner satisfaction (B = -0.47, exp(B) = 0.63 [95% confidence interval, 0.43-0.93], P = 0.020). When actor satisfaction was high, greater partner satisfaction was associated with lower odds of a positive STI screen at 12 months. A significant interaction between actor and partner affectional expression was also found (B = -4.40, exp(B) = 0.01 [95% confidence interval, 0.00-0.87], P = 0.043). When partner affectional expression was high, greater actor affectional expression was associated with lower odds of a positive STI screen at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that concordant reports of relationship satisfaction and affectional expression are protective against future STI risk. Strengthening romantic relationships may be a promising strategy for preventing STIs in pregnant/parenting AYA couples.

Mental health burden among Black adolescents: the need for better assessment, diagnosis and treatment engagement

Opara, I., Weissinger, G. M., Lardier, D. T., Lanier, Y., Carter, S., & Brawner, B. M. (2021). Social Work in Mental Health, 19(2), 88-104. 10.1080/15332985.2021.1879345
This study examines mental health symptoms among Black adolescents who were currently in mental health treatment and those who were not in treatment. The study uses a sample of Black adolescents (N= 154) and logistic regression was performed to determine which psychological factors were associated with exhibiting mental health symptoms. Both groups experienced high amounts of trauma exposure history, recent suicidality, substance use, and depressive symptoms. Nearly one in four adolescents in the out of treatment group met diagnostic criteria for anxiety disorders. Implications include better screening for mental health symptoms to ensure Black adolescent have access to mental health treatment.

Inequities along the Depression Care Cascade in African American Women: An Integrative Review

Perez, N. B., Lanier, Y., & Squires, A. (2020). Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 1-10. 10.1080/01612840.2020.1853289
Depression represents a growing health problem and African American women (AAW) disproportionally experience increased risk and broad disparities in health care. This integrative review examines what is known about the equity of depression care provided to AAW. PubMed, PsychINFO, and Web of Science were searched through April 2020 for studies in peer-reviewed journals from 2015 to 2020. Across the studies (n = 7), AAW received inequitable care across a depression care cascade including lower rates of screening, treatment initiation, and guideline-concordant care. Here we explore individual-, relational-, and structural-level factors related to these disparities and implications for research, practice, and education.

Methodological strategies to engage young black and Latino heterosexual couples in sexual and reproductive health research

Lanier, Y., Campo, A., Lavarin, C., Toussaint, A., Gwadz, M., & Guilamo-Ramos, V. (2020). BMC Health Services Research, 20(1). 10.1186/s12913-020-05202-9
Background: Approaches that move beyond individuals and target couples may be an effective strategy for reducing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) disparities among adolescents and young adults (AYA). However, few researchers have attempted to recruit couples due to feasibility and methodological issues. This study aims to enhance implementation and methodological approaches to successfully engage heterosexual Black and Latino adolescent and young adult (AYA) couples in sexual reproductive health (SRH) research. Methods: We developed a four-step approach to systematically engage AYA couples in a qualitative study examining factors that influence uptake of combination HIV prevention methods: 1) understanding barriers and facilitators to engaging AYA couples, (2) identifying AYAs living in geographic areas of HIV vulnerability, (3) recruiting and screening AYA couples, and (4) scheduling and completion of the interview session. Results: Black and Latino youth aged 16 to 24 and their opposite sex romantic were recruited in the South Bronx, New York from September 2017-May 2018. Three hundred and seventy-two men and women completed screening procedures to determine eligibility for the index participant; 125 were eligible and enrolled into the study. Forty-nine nominated partners (NPs) participated in screening procedures and enrolled into the study. A total of 49 couples enrolled into the study; 23 couples completed study activities. Conclusions: Developing a systematic recruitment plan aided in successfully engaging Black and Latino heterosexual youth. Nevertheless, barriers to study enrollment remained including locating eligible IPs and screening of the NP. Targeting both young men and women was an effective recruitment strategy. Moreover, dyadic strategies that allow for simultaneous interaction with both couple members may be a beneficial strategy to couples' study enrollment and completion of study activities.

Successfully Recruiting Black and Hispanic/Latino Adolescents for Sexually Transmitted Infection and HIV Prevention Research

Bradley, E. L., Lanier, Y., Ukuku Miller, A. M., Brawner, B. M., & Sutton, M. Y. (2020). Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 7(1), 36-44. 10.1007/s40615-019-00631-7
Disparities in rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV between Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino adolescents and their white counterparts are well documented. Researchers may encounter notable challenges recruiting Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino adolescents for sexual risk reduction studies. In this article, we present information to assist with planning, implementing, and evaluating recruitment and retention strategies. We also provide practical examples of challenges and solutions from three STI/HIV epidemiologic or prevention intervention studies with different study purposes and populations. Researchers can use this information to aid proposal development, create or refine a recruitment/retention protocol before implementation, and troubleshoot challenges during implementation.

Vital Voices: HIV Prevention and Care Interventions Developed for Disproportionately Affected Communities by Historically Underrepresented, Early-Career Scientists

Sutton, M. Y., Martinez, O., Brawner, B. M., Prado, G., Camacho-Gonzalez, A., Estrada, Y., Payne-Foster, P., Rodriguez-Diaz, C. E., Hussen, S. A., Lanier, Y., Van Den Berg, J. J., Malavé-Rivera, S. M., Hickson, D. M. A., & Fields, E. L. (2020). Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 10.1007/s40615-020-00908-2
Abstract: Background: HIV prevention interventions which support engagement in care and increased awareness of biomedical options, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), are highly desired for disproportionately affected Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) populations in the United States (US). However, in almost 40 years of HIV research, few interventions have been developed directly by and for these priority populations in domestic counties most at risk. We submit that interventions developed by early-career scientists who identify with and work directly with affected subgroups, and which include social and structural determinants of health, are vital as culturally tailored HIV prevention and care tools. Methods: We reviewed and summarized interventions developed from 2007 to 2020 by historically underrepresented early-career HIV prevention scientists in a federally funded research mentoring program. We mapped these interventions to determine which were in jurisdictions deemed as high priority (based on HIV burden) by national prevention strategies. Results: We summarized 11 HIV interventions; 10 (91%) of the 11 interventions are in geographic areas where HIV disparities are most concentrated and where new HIV prevention and care activities are focused. Each intervention addresses critical social and structural determinants of health disparities, and successfully reaches priority populations. Conclusion: Focused funding that supports historically underrepresented scientists and their HIV prevention and care intervention research can help facilitate reaching national goals to reduce HIV-related disparities and end the HIV epidemic. Maintaining these funding streams should remain a priority as one of the tools for national HIV prevention.

Interprofessional development of a livestream simulation activity to enhance an undergraduate nursing research course

Lanier, Y., Bryant, K., Budin, W. C., Marsaglia, M., Resto, D., Genee, J., Birk, K., Sultana, N., Carumba, R., & Jaravata, J. A. (2019). Nursing Education Perspectives, 40(1), 50-52. 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000432
The article describes the development, implementation, and evaluation of an interactive simulation activity to enhance student engagement and comprehension of evidence-based practice principles. An interprofessional team of nurse educators, simulation experts, information technology specialists, and nursing informatics graduate students collaborated on the simulation design. The results of this project support the need to develop innovative learning strategies to facilitate nursing students' understanding of the relevance of evidence-based practice research to improve patient outcomes.

Navigating virginities: enactment of sexual agency among Arab women in the USA

Abboud, S., Lanier, Y., Sweet Jemmott, L., & Sommers, M. S. (2019). Culture, Health and Sexuality, 21(10), 1103-1116. 10.1080/13691058.2018.1539249
People interpret virginity in a variety of ways with different implications for sexual identity and behaviour. In Arab societies, heterosexuality and compulsory virginity before marriage are traditionally understood as ideals for a ‘good’ Arab girl, a ‘good’ Arab family and, consequently, a ‘good’ Arab society. In this study, our goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of the enactment of sexual agency and decision-making around virginity from the perspectives of Arab women living in the USA. We conducted a qualitative phenomenological study involving interviews with ten women whose accounts could be grouped into three distinct types: ‘For me, it’s the person you marry that you will be doing these things with’; ‘I want to wait until marriage but I know there might be a possibility where I’m not’; and ‘I started dating this guy, and I did lose my virginity to him’. The life stories of the women illustrate different ways of enacting sexual agency that are strongly influenced by socio-cultural norms and contexts. Our findings have important implications for future research to better understand decisions and behaviours about virginity and how Arab women in the USA enact their sexuality.

Moving Beyond Age: An Exploratory Qualitative Study on the Context of Young African American Men and Women’s Sexual Debut

Lanier, Y., Stewart, J. M., Schensul, J. J., & Guthrie, B. J. (2018). Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 5(2), 261-270. 10.1007/s40615-017-0366-9
African American youth continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Early sexual debut has been identified as a major determinant of HIV risk. However, emerging research suggests that the overarching context in which first sex occurs may have greater implications for sexual health than simply age alone. The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study was to better understand the broader context of African Americans’ sexual debut. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 African American men and women aged 18–24 years. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The mean age at sexual debut for the sample was 15.4 (SD = 3.3), and youth framed their sexual debut as positive (50%), negative (30%), and both positive and negative (20%). The majority of youth initiated pre-sex conversations with their partners to gauge potential interest in engaging in sexual activity, and all youth utilized at least one HIV/sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy prevention method. However, most youth failed to talk to their partners prior to sex about their past sexual histories and what the experience meant for their relationship. Key differences emerged between youth who framed the experience as positive and those who framed the experience as negative or both positive and negative in terms of their motivations for initiating sex (i.e., readiness to initiate sex, pressure, and emotionally safety) and post-sex emotions (i.e., remorse and contentment). Findings provide further support for examining the broader sexual context of African American’s sexual debut. A more comprehensive understanding of sexual debut will aid in the development and tailoring of sexual risk reduction programs targeting African American youth.

“You Know What You Gotta Do”: African American Fathers and Sons Perspectives’ on Parent–Child Sexual Risk Communication and HIV Intervention Development Needs

Baker, J. L., Lanier, Y., James, G., Fletcher, J., Delish, M., Opara, O., Sampson, C., Jemmott, L., & Stewart, J. (2018). Journal of Family Issues, 39(6), 1685-1711. 10.1177/0192513X17720960
Context: Although parents can be influential toward the sexual attitudes and behaviors of adolescents, fathers are significantly underrepresented in studies of parental influences on adolescent sexual practices and behaviors. Method: This mixed method study assessed the feasibility of implementing a HIV/STI (human immunodeficiency virus/sexually transmitted infection) risk reduction program for African American fathers and sons. Focus groups were conducted with 30 father–son pairs at a local barbershop. Adolescents ranged between 11 and 19 years old with a mean age of 14.71 years (SD = 2.14). Results: Fathers and sons were not in agreement about frequency of communication about sexual health issues. However, the majority of fathers and sons indicated they would attend a father–son HIV/STI risk reduction program together. Conclusion: This study supports the development of a HIV/STI risk reduction program for that can enhance sexual risk communication practices among African American fathers and sons.