In recognition of her outstanding research bringing visibility to issues of military and veteran families, Assistant Professor Kathrine Sullivan has been named one of five finalists for the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI)’s 2022 Barbara Thompson Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families Award. She was selected for her principal authorship of Perceptions of family acceptance into the military community among US LGBT service members: An exploratory mixed methods study, which was published in the Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, Volume 7, Issue s1.
Among the findings of Dr. Sullivan and colleagues’ study, many LGBT service members felt their families were accepted, although many still perceived a lack of acceptance, particularly regarding appropriateness of military family support services. The study used a minority stress theory framework and a mixed-methods design to consider LGBT service members’ perceptions of family acceptance within the military community. The analysis of survey data from 115 LGBT service members who have a spouse or partner, a child or children, or both, and qualitative data from 42 LGBT service members who participated in semi-structured interviews shed light on the experiences of LGBT military families and highlighted both successes, with respect to inclusion, and areas for more scrutiny.
Dr. Sullivan and the other four finalists, Drs. Catherine Walker O’Neal (University of Georgia), Brittnie Peck (University of Wisconsin – Superior), Valerie Stander (Naval Health Research Center), and Kristen Walter (Naval Health Research Center), have been invited to present their research in detail and discuss the implications for future research at MFRI’s awards ceremony on December 9.
MFRI’s process for determining the award winners is highly selective and applications and nominations are not accepted. According to the institute, a large panel of accomplished scholars examines every relevant article published during the eligible year and the final selection is decided through multiple rounds of review, including standardized quantitative assessments.
MFRI’s Barbara Thompson Award was established in 2015. Its goals are to bring visibility to issues of military and veteran families generally, and to outstanding new research specifically; increase the impact of rigorous scientific evidence on programs, policies and practices affecting military and veteran families; strengthen connections between researchers and practitioners interested in military and veteran families; and raise awareness of research on military and veteran families across many disciplines.