Faculty Profile: Cassandra Stanton, PhD

Cassandra Stanton, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior
Psychiatry & Human Behavior
Work: +1 401-455-6619
Cassandra Stanton's research interests include child, adolescent, and family health promotion, as well as community based cancer prevention research. She has a National Cancer Institute (NCI) career development award to investigate contextual and group level processes that impact youth tobacco use. As a co-investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded clinical trial, she is also examining culturally sensitive smoking cessation interventions. She is especially interested in cultural differences in the development of health behaviors and novel prevention interventions that reinforce protective influences in youth's social environments.

Biography

Cassandra Stanton, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital. Her interests include child, adolescent, and family health promotion, as well as community based cancer prevention research. She recently received a career development award from NCI to investigate contextual and group level processes that impact the initiation and progression of youth tobacco use. Dr. Stanton is also co-investigator of a NIDA funded clinical trial examining culturally sensitive behavioral interventions for nicotine dependence. She is especially interested in cultural differences in the development of health behaviors and novel prevention interventions that reinforce protective influences in youth's social environments.

Research Description

Cassandra Stanton's program of research is focused on promoting pediatric health to prevent the uptake of health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking, and ultimately reduce the risk of developing cancers and other chronic diseases. These research activities encompass developing, testing, and refining etiologic multilevel models that focus on how contextual influences in the social environments of youth interact with family and intrapersonal factors to protect children and adolescents from the uptake of smoking behaviors. Preventing smoking uptake among youth has been identified as essential to public health efforts to reduce the overall prevalence of smoking and its attendant morbidity and mortality. It has been reported that three-fourths of individuals who smoke daily as high school seniors are still smoking daily eight years later, even though only 5 percent anticipated that they would still be smoking (Johnston et al., 2000). Interventions aimed at reducing adolescent smoking at early stages of uptake could decrease the number of youth who progress from smoking experimentation to regular smoking and likely nicotine dependence. For such programs to be successful, it is necessary to better understand contextual and social influences at different stages of adolescent smoking.

Another dimension of her research program is a focus on better understanding racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors. For example, there is a growing literature addressing racial/ethnic differences in health behaviors during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Emerging adulthood has been proposed as a new conception of development for the period from the late teens through the twenties, with a focus on ages 18-25. There is a vast literature on disparities between rates of health promoting behaviors, such as physical activity, and health compromising behaviors, such as cigarette smoking, among adolescents from different races, regions, and cultural contexts. But it is only in recent years that a handful of longitudinal investigations examining trajectories of these behaviors have revealed disparities in how health behaviors change over time among different cultural and contextual subgroups. Although adolescence and young adulthood are periods often thought to be of peak health, emerging evidence suggests that health promotion efforts aimed at youth transitioning to adulthood and tailored to specific cultural and contextual subgroups are paramount to promoting lifelong health and reducing health outcome disparities. She is involved in a series or projects utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to further understand health disparities during this critical developmental stage.

Cassandra Stanton is also a co-Investigator in Brown's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center (TTURC-2). The TTURC builds on data from the New England Family Study (NEFS), which is a three-generation birth cohort of mothers (first-generation) and their children (second-generation) initially recruited in Boston and Providence during the early 1960s. Over the past several years, she has been involved in collecting data from the third generation of Providence and Boston NEFS children who were assessed (at ages 12-17) as part of Brown's TTURC-1. We collected data primarily on individual-level characteristics, such as lifetime smoking trajectories, psychosocial history, diagnoses of mental disorders, and physical health. Data from TTURC-1 will serve as the baseline wave for the study (TTURC-2) that is currently underway, which follows these adolescents and their NEFS parent over the next four years, broadening the scope of inquiry to include new information on environmental risk during the emerging adulthood period.

Finally, Cassandra Stanton's research activities in cancer prevention include applied work with randomized clinical trials for smoking cessation in medical settings. As a co-I of a large-scale community based R01 smoking cessation clinical trial, Dr. Stanton is involved with developing and evaluating a clinic-based culturally targeted smoking cessation treatment for a largely low-income, Latino, HIV positive population. We are comparing a culturally enhanced smoking cessation intervention that incorporates a strong social support component to a standard care control condition in clinics throughout Southern New England.

Grants and Awards

PostGraduate Honors/Awards:
National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Research Service (F32) Award, 2000-2002
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Travel Award, Mentor Program sponsored by NIDA's Child and Adolescent Work Group- SRA, 2002
American Psychiatric Association (APA) Travel Award, Advanced Training Institute in Longitudinal Methods, Modeling, and Measurement, 2002
National Institutes of Health (NIH) /NCI Loan Repayment Program Award for Pediatric Research, 2003-2007
NIDA Travel Award, Youth Substance Use Workshop, sponsored by NIDA. 2004

Affiliations

American Public Health Association
American Psychological Association (APA)
Society for Behavioral Medicine
Society for Research in Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT)
Society for Research on Adolescence

Funded Research

1. 5/01/04 – 4/30/09 K07 CA095623-01A1 (C. Stanton, PI)
"Peer Group Networks and Adolescent Smoking"
National Cancer Institute (NCI), $542,243
Principal Investigator

2. 08/05/05 –07/31/10 1 RO1 DA018079-01 A1 (Niaura, PI)
"Reducing Ethnic Health Disparities: Motivating HIV+ Latinos to Quit Smoking"
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), $716,366
Co-Investigator

3. 9/30/04-9/29/09 2 P50 CA084719-06 (Niaura, PI)
"Nicotine Dependence: Phenotype, Endophenotype, and Context"
NCI, $1,406,084
Co-Investigator

4. 08/27/00-08/27/02 F32 CA88457 (C. Stanton, PI)
"Socialization Against Smoking Uptake in Preadolescents"
NCI, $72,512
Principal Investigator

Teaching Experience

N/A

Selected Publications

  • Stanton, C., Fries, E., Danish, S. (2003) Racial and gender differences in the diets of rural youth and their mothers. American Journal of Health Behavior, 27(4), 336-347. (2003)
  • Stanton, C., Spirito, A., Donaldson, D., & Boergers, J. (2003). Risk-taking behavior and adolescent suicide attempts. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 33(1), 74-79. (2003)
  • Lloyd-Richardson, E., Papandonatos, G., Kazura, A., Stanton, C. & Niaura, R (2002). Differentiating stages of smoking intensity among adolescents: stage-specific psychological and social influences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70(4), 998-1009. (2002)
  • Spirito, A., Stanton, C., Donaldson, D., & Boergers, J. (2002). Treatment-as-usual for adolescent suicide attempters: Implications for the choice of comparison groups in psychotherapy research with high-risk patients. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 31(1), 41-47. (2002)
  • Buzzard, M., Stanton, C., Figueiredo, M., Fries, E., Nicholson, R., Hogan, C. & Danish, S. (2001). Development and reproducibility of a brief food frequency questionnaire for assessing fat, fiber, and fruit and vegetable intakes of rural adolescents. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 101, 1438-46. (2001)
  • Fries, E., Meyer, A., Danish, S., Stanton, C., Figueiredo, M., Green, S., Brunelle, J., Buzzard, M. (2001). Cancer prevention in rural youth: teaching goals for health. Journal of Cancer Education, 15, 225-230. (2001)