Health & Wellness

Celebrating Pride: Research Explores 'Positive Identity Development' Among Youth and Young Adults

To celebrate Pride Month in June, a Utah State Today series is highlighting university employees and students who are conducting research, academic pursuits and other projects related to or that benefit the LGBTQIA+ community.

Renee Galliher

Professor in Psychology Department

  • Area of study: identity development at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender, race/ethnicity and other domains of identity.

Why is this work important?

“Positive identity development is a critical task of adolescence and young adulthood. We explore effective strategies for navigating complex and sometimes conflicting relationships among different aspects of identity.”

Summary of research:

Renee Galliher’s PR2IDE (Prejudice, Risk/Resilience, Identity Development, Empowerment/Equity) Lab is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students in psychology at Utah State University. The research in Galliher’s lab is focused on identity development processes, emphasizing intersections of domains of identity within relational and cultural contexts. Using observational, self-report and qualitative methodologies, they assess ethnic identity, sexual identity, religious identity, professional identity and other forms of identity across developmental transitions.

Their work examines patterns of risk and resilience related to important family and peer relationships, as well as cultural influences and the impact of prejudice and discrimination. Lab members engage in a range of independent and collaborative projects that broadly fall under the umbrella of research in identity development. Ongoing projects focus on intersections of different domains of identity, within the context of marginalization and inequity. In addition, they connect with the community by incorporating activism and community engagement into their work.

Galliher’s current projects include:

  • Investigating the Career Development and Professional Trajectories of LGBTQ Students in Engineering
    • National Science Foundation: Broadening Participation in Engineering
  • Understanding community resilience resources and experiences of inequity within the LGBTQ+ community: Implications for identity and mental health disparities
    • Student Researcher: Joshua Parmenter
  • Sexual Objectification Experiences of Non-Binary People
    • Student researcher: Hay Pradell
  • Positive Identity Strategies of Racialized LGBTQ+ People of Faith
    • Student Researcher: Elizabeth Wong


Emilie Wheeler
News Director
University Marketing and Communications


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