May 25, 2019  

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Moorer Honored by Southeastern Psychological Association

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Kayla Moorer

A University of Southern Mississippi graduate student's research has earned a first place award from the Southeastern Psychological Association's (SEPA) Committee on Equality for Professional Opportunity (CEPO).

Kayla Moorer, a doctoral student in counseling psychology from Laurel, Miss., received SEPA’s Graduate Student Research on Women and Minorities award after outranking the competition in the research on women category. The recognition was based on her master’s thesis, titled “Alcohol consumption and unwanted sexual experiences in college females: The mediating role of protective behavioral strategies.”

A member of the Department of Psychology’s College Alcohol Research Team, Moorer will present her thesis in a student paper award session at SEPA’s annual meeting March 13-16 in Atlanta and receive a monetary award.

Moorer said studies show in recent years that college females have been drinking at higher rates than ever, with increased use of alcohol leading to the increased risk of experiencing negative consequences. She believes that too often, the sexual consequences related to alcohol aren’t addressed and hopes her research brings more attention to their prevalence and ways to prevent their occurrence.

“Because college females commonly report alcohol-related unwanted sexual experiences, my thesis explored ways to keep them safe,” Moorer said. “Results show support for the use of harm reduction strategies such as going home with a friend or knowing what you're drinking- small things that can make a big difference in keeping college females safe.” 

Moorer’s faculty mentor, Dr. Michael Madson, praised her scholarship and leadership skills as a member of the College Alcohol Research Team. “The fact her research was selected for this competitive award highlights the value of her work in reducing harm for women on college campuses nationwide,” Madson said.

For information about degree programs and research in the Southern Miss Department of Psychology, online visit