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to the SUPER Research Lab

The focus of the SUPER lab is to investigate the intersection of gender-based violence (GBV), substance use, and sexual and reproductive health. Our externally and internally funded research program aims to reduce GBV by:


(1) identifying the individual, dyadic, and event-level risk and protective factors for perpetrating GBV;

(2) identifying the risk and resiliency factor that contribute to recovery and healing after experiencing GBV victimization; and

(3) informing intervention and prevention programming


Our program of research uses different methodologies, including laboratory, survey, and longitudinal, to study different forms of GBV toward various targets and in different contexts, such as acute alcohol intoxication, sexualized-drinking contexts.

Current Research Projects

In May 2020, the Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (KBRIN) funded a two-year project to study the effects of state anger and emotion regulation in the context of acute intoxication. Ongoing research suggests that the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol intoxication promote an increase in emotions such as anger, while disrupting emotion regulatory processes. The project aims to determine (1) the role of state anger in high-risk men’s intentions to perpetrate sexual aggression; (2) the role of in-the-moment emotion regulation processes in buffering the association between state anger and sexual aggression intentions; (3) whether the context of acute alcohol intoxication is associated with an increase in state anger after a provocation and a decrease in emotion regulation processes; and (4) how these interactive and mediational effects contribute to men’s intentions to perpetrate sexual aggression. The intended outcome is for the results derived from this project to provide the desperately needed evidence base to develop effective prevention and intervention programs for sexual aggression perpetration.


In addition to the above project, the SUPER lab seeks to understand the sexual health, substance use, and GBV experiences within rural communities. Consistent with this goal, the SUPER lab is currently conducting several research studies that investigate (1) the roles of formal and informal sex education from religious institutions and communities in the sexual health and decision-making among rural college students; (2) the interactive effects of emotion regulation and impulsivity on sexual health, substance use, and GBV perpetration and victimization among rural college students; (3) emotion regulation and distress tolerance factors as factors contributing to substance use. It is the goal of these projects to better understand the specific needs of rural communities and develop culturally-informed and community-participatory prevention and intervention efforts.

For more questions, contact Dr. Neilson at

Follow us on Twitter at @ECNeilsonPhD for more updates!

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