Buffie Longmire-Avital is an applied developmental psychologist with a health and well-being focus. Broadly, her research interests focus on how psychosocial and cultural factors contribute to health disparities that impact minority emerging adults.
Her current research is twofold: First, she examines the relationships among psychosocial factors (specifically depression, perceived partner availability, and racial identity) on HIV/AIDS risk behaviors for sexually active emerging adult Black women and men. Second, she explores how chronic minority status stressors (e.g., daily encounters with discrimination, microaggressions, and racism) play a part in the development of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and sustain health disparities. Her data collection takes place in non-laboratory settings in partnership with members of the community through various community venues, including online social networking sites. She also incorporates community-based participatory research techniques into most of her projects.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Black Women's Physical Health
Sexual Risk Behavior
Applied Developmental Psychology
Minority Status Stress
Black Women's Mental Health
Loan Repayment Program (LRP) for Health Disparities Research funded by the National Institutes of Health
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD)
National Research Service Award,
National Research Service Award, T32-DA0 7233-25 (20018 - 2010) - Postdoctoral Fellowship Public Health Solutions at National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) - National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Ford Foundation Dissertation Diversity Fellowship, Honorable mention & Alternate
Ford Foundation Dissertation Diversity Fellowship, Honorable mention & Alternate (2006) - The Ford Foundation.
New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development: Ph.D., Psychology 2008
Lafayette College: B.S., Psychology 2002
- Journal of Sex Research
- Developmental Psychology
- Journal of Emerging Adulthood
- Journal of Health Psychology
Media Appearances (2)
Longmire-Avital, Madzima and alumna co-author article in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
E-Net News online
Associate Professor of Psychology Buffie Longmire-Avital, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Takudzwa "Titch" Madzima and Elyse Bierut '16 co-authored an article in the latest issue of Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal examining the rates of engagement in high-calorie burning activities of black and white American collegiate females...
Episode 1: Historical Trauma: Defining and Understanding the Intergenerational Impacts
E-Net News online
Dr. Buffie Longmire-Avital is an associate professor of psychology and coordinates the African and African-American Studies interdisciplinary minor at Elon University. She received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. For more than a decade, she has been involved in applied research and practice that examines how the intersection of psychosocial factors (e.g., racial identity, everyday discrimination, stress, and perceived opportunities) are related to the health risk behaviors and psychological well-being of minorities
Event Appearances (6)
The Cost of the Climb
Annual Black PhD Network Conference Charlotte, NC
Microaggressions and the Pursuit of a Medical Degree
Skin of Color Society Orlando, FL
Equity & Diversity in Experiential Learning
CAA Pedagogy Summit on Experiential Learning Philadelphia, PA
Social Justice Epistemology: The Transformative Narratives of Black Female Academics
American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Raleigh, North Carolina
Recruiting and Sustaining Black Student Participation in Undergraduate Research
American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Raleigh, North Carolina
A Comparative Exploration of Depressive Symptomatology among Black and White Collegiate Women
Cross-Cultural Counseling and Education Conference for Research, Action, and Change Savannah, Georgia
Bangera and Brownell (2014) lay out a compelling list of barriers students encounter while attempting to engage in undergraduate research. The authors also argue that, given the institutional nature of some of these barriers (e.g., implicit bias or lack of awareness of cultural norms associated with research), many of these obstacles may prevent some students from even entertaining the idea of participating in research with a faculty member. Bangera and Brownell use this list to illustrate how the traditional methods for recruiting students into research labs recreates privilege and reinforces social hierarchies that favor students for whom access and equity has never been a historical concern. Further, this widely accepted approach unintentionally insures that students with knowledge and access to this critical high impact practice will receive the benefits and advance their likelihood of going to graduate school as well as re-entering academia as researchers and professors themselves.
Previous research has documented the comprehensive health benefits of regular physical activity. However, just over a third of Black women report meeting the suggested amount of physical activity per week. Research also indicates that collegiate emerging adults often reduce their physical activity as well. Given that Black collegiate women represent the intersection of two groups that report a reduction in physical activity, the primary purpose of this descriptive study was to examine whether or not the rate of engagement in high-calorie-burning (HCB) activity by collegiate females differed by race. A secondary purpose was to explore how the chronic stress of racism for Black women was related to their HCB activity. Three hundred and eighty-three collegiate females between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 19.67, SD = 1.45) participated; (61.1% [n = 234] self-identified as White, while the remaining 38.9% [n = 149] self-identified as Black). All eligible participants took a 10–15 min anonymous online survey. Results from a chi-squared analysis (χ2  = 8.40, p = .004) revealed that White collegiate women (70.3%) were more likely to report participation in weekly HCB activity than Black collegiate women (55.7%). Additional analyses also suggested that chronic experience with racism (F [1, 147] = 5.13, p = .03) was associated with more frequent HCB activity for the Black women sampled. Campus health promotion campaigns should not overlook how the experience of race may shape health behaviors for their racial minority students and sustain emerging health disparities.
Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) emerging adults experience social marginalization due to the intersection of their racial and sexual identities. The current study assessed social support, racial and sexual identity, in addition to psychosocial markers among 216 Black LGB emerging adults (Mage = 22.28, SD = 3.07). Hierarchical linear regression showed that decreases in social support predicted higher levels of depressive symptomatology while increases in social support in addition to components of racial and sexual identity predicted increases in reported resilience. These findings should be used when researching and doing clinical work with this population.
Four out of five Black women in the United States, over the age of 20 years, meet criteria for obesity. A critical determinant of pervasive health disparities, such as obesity, may be the Black woman’s sociocultural experience. One part of this experience is the stress that results from daily encounters with microaggressions. Research has been limited on the association of race-related stress with maladaptive health behaviors among Black women and at what age this association is visible. The aim of this exploratory cross-sectional study was to investigate whether perceived race-related stress was associated with an obesity risk behavior, emotional eating. One hundred and forty-nine collegiate Black American women from across the United States completed an anonymous online survey during the summer of 2014. Race-related stress was moderately correlated with emotional eating (r = 0.32, p < 0.001). However, a hierarchical linear regression revealed that the relationship between race-related stress and emotional eating remained significant after controlling for weight range and general perceived stress. Race-related stress contributed an additional 3.9 percent of the explained variance for emotional eating. Interventions for weight loss and management targeting young adult Black women must acknowledge how their perceived racial experience is linked to health behaviors and outcomes.
Buffie Longmire-Avital & Ruthie Robinson
This comparative study explored the rates of depression and psychosocial correlates for 369 collegiate White and Black females. Women between the ages of 18 and 25 were recruited to participate in this anonymous online survey. Black females reported significantly greater amounts of depressive symptomatology (M = 24.61) in comparison to the White females (M = 15.68), (F (1,377) = 61.434, p < .001). A series of Chi-square analyses indicated that Black women (52.3%) were also significantly more likely to meet criteria for major depression than White women (21.7%).
Research indicates that 52% of Black American women will marry by age 30, compared with 81% of White American women. Black women prefer a partner of the same race and one who has the means to provide financial support. However, due to factors that disproportionately affect Black American men, such as incarceration, early death rates, unemployment rates, and lower educational attainment, finding an available Black male partner is challenging. Black women may have a smaller marriage market. To explore how this limited market may be influencing partner selections for Black women, the current study looked at which characteristics heterosexual Black American women seek in an ideal partner, as well as what traits are considered nonnegotiable. Qualitative responses gathered from 128 nonmarried Black American women (ages 18-29, M = 23) who completed an anonymous online survey were analyzed using content analysis. Overall findings indicated that compatibility was the most frequently listed characteristic, not race or financial status. This and other findings are discussed in regard to an expanding perception of heterosexual Black female partner selection habits.