Developmentally Informed Policy & Practice Research Lab

Amanda M. Fanniff, Ph.D.

The Developmentally Informed Policy and Practice Lab is engaged in research and scholarship regarding effective public policies and clinical practices with a focus on adolescence and emerging adulthood. The group's work includes research on issues relevant to forensic psychology practice as well as on adolescents and young adults who have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors. Given the high rates of traumatic exposure in juvenile and adult forensic populations, we also are engaged in research that explores the impact of traumatic experiences on attitudes, behavior, risk, and justice system processing. Our goal is to inform assessment, treatment, prevention, and justice system responses that are: (1) developmentally-sensitive, (2) culturally-relevant, and (3) empirically-based.

You will be expected to attend weekly lab meetings throughout your participation in the research group (including your dissertation year) as well as additional small group meetings. You will be expected contribute to research group activities (eventually including your own projects) for a total of about 8-10 hours per week. Most of the work you do for the research group will be able to be completed on a schedule of your choosing. Descriptions of selected current projects follow. Please also review our website (link posted above)

  1. Gender, Sexuality, and Cultural Influences on Rape Myth Acceptance. Although young people today may be less likely to endorse blatant rape myths (e.g., “A woman can resist a rape if she really wants to”), endorsement of more subtle myths is more common and the impact of individual characteristics of victims and respondents in terms of gender, sexual orientation, and culture is unknown. This study is examining the endorsement of subtle and obvious rape myths when perpetrators and victims are presented with different combinations of cultural identities (gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity)  
  2. The Inclusion of Culture in Forensic Psychology Journals. This project focuses on how research published in top forensic psychology journals incorporate cultural considerations. The study will replicate and extend the work of Carter & Forsyth (2007) by addressing the degree to which additional recommendations for culturally competent research are met and including other cultural groups (e.g., sexual identity in addition to racial/ethnic identity). The current study includes empirical articles published from 2011 to 2016 in the journals included in Carter & Forsyth (2007) as well as top impact factor journals based on 2016 IF ratings. This project hopes to illuminate the ways in which we have improved as a field in implementing cultural considerations in forensic research and to identify recommendations for further improvement.

  3. Sexual Identity, Masculine Identity, & their relationship to Sex Role Attitudes & Stress. This study is testing how masculinity and attitudes towards sexuality and gender present in self-identified gay, bisexual, and heterosexual men. Project aims including testing the psychometric properties of the Machismo and Caballerismo Scale (TMCS) as well as several measures of masculine gender norms and gender role stress when used with sexual minority men. Further, we will test how gender-neutral versions of existing items relate to the overall measure. Construct validity will be tested by examining the intercorrelations between the TMCS, the measures of masculine gender role and gender role stress, and heteronormativity. 

Duties for the research group may include preparing brief statistics presentations for the research group in addition to contributing to the projects above and/or other projects that may be developed. Students may be involved in the preparation of non-empirical publications (e.g., chapters solicited for inclusion in edited books) and will be encouraged to develop proposals for empirical research using existing datasets or involving original data collection. The lab is open to formulating new study ideas.

How to Apply:

  • Cover letter (2 pages max) that includes (1) your research interests in forensic psychology, (2) a brief description of your career goals (e.g., professor, clinician, etc.) and populations of interest (e.g., adult offenders, juvenile offenders, sex offenders), (3) a description of how the DIPP Lab might contribute to your broader career goals, and (4) any software in which you are particularly skilled (e.g., MPlus, SPSS, etc.)

  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Unofficial Transcript 
  • Writing samples: the first version and the current version of your first year Research Methods proposal and up to one additional writing sample that best conveys your writing ability, preferably a research paper. 


Applicants will first meet with current members of the juvenile forensic research group. In addition to providing an initial interview, you can also use this opportunity to learn more about the research group to determine if this group is a good fit for you. Based on your application materials and the feedback resulting from the first round of interviews, Dr. Fanniff will interview a select group of highly qualified applicants. New group members will be selected based on merit and degree of fit regarding research interests.


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