College of Global Public Health
New York University
Dr. Cook is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biostatistics and Social and Behavioral Sciences at New York University’s College of Global Public Health. Dr. Cook is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Attachment and Health Disparities Research Laboratory where her and her research team assess the associations of attachment-related functioning and health disparities among racial/ethnic and sexual minority youth. From this research, Dr. Cook developed an integrated theory of adult attachment and minority stress to better understand the needs of disadvantaged youth transitioning into adulthood, which will in turn inform effective prevention programs for vulnerable racial/ethnic and sexual minority youth. Additionally, Dr. Cook has conducted and published studies examining biological biomarkers of stress among young sexual minority men, and have examined the links between sexual minority stress (i.e., daily experiences of sexual orientation discrimination) and diurnal cortisol, a biomarker of HPA-axis functioning, among young Black and White men. More specifically, Dr. Cook’s work examines interconnections between sexual minority stress, adult attachment, and stress physiology among young adult MSM (YMSM).
Dr. Cook’s Attachment and Health Disparities Lab is currently running several studies that address how individuals perceive social stressors related to being at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, and how these perceptions may influence various health outcomes, including physiological stress biomarkers. Below are a few of her ongoing studies:
Daily Stressful Experiences and Substance Use Among Young Sexual Minority Men:
This study utilizes daily diary methods to examine how adult attachment, social support, and experiences with daily racial/ethnic- and/or sexual orientation-related discrimination is associated with substance use and diurnal cortisol among young sexual minority men. The goal of this study is to inform culturally relevant substance use prevention programs for young sexual minority men.
Stress and Cardiovascular Health Among Young Sexual Minority Men:
This study is examining the association between attachment, prolonged exposure to stress in the form of minority stressors (i.e., sexual orientation and/or racial/ethnic-related stigma and discrimination), and pre-clinical cardiovascular disease among a cohort of young sexual minority men. Specifically, we seek to examine whether social support buffers the association between negative effects of minority stress and pre-clinical cardiovascular disease.
Stress and Inflammation Among Young Sexual Minority Men:
This study aims to examine the associations between attachment, psychosocial stress, and biological indicators of stress among young sexual minority men. This study measures levels of c-reactive protein (CRP), which has been known to be a biological indicator of prolonged exposure to stress. The goal of this study is to increase our understanding of how daily experiences of stigma and discrimination influence physiological stress responses among sexual minority males.