Dr. Lanza divides her time between working with outside-CSULB collaborators and conducting research with students in the RHAYA lab. At the core of the RHAYA lab projects is the emphasis on mentoring, training, and collaborating with students to produce high-quality scientific research.
CSULB Health-Risk Behavior Study (2020-2024)
Co-occurring Health-Risk Behaviors in Emerging Adulthood: The Relationship between Obesity and Tobacco Use
Obesity and tobacco use among adolescents and young adults remain two of the most pressing public health concerns in the U.S.; both are linked to pervasive declines across health domains. The transition from adolescence to young adulthood – emerging adulthood – presents a critical period for examining these health-risks; problematic substance use often emerges during this developmental stage and obesity status during this period is predictive of chronic obesity. Research on co-occurring obesity and substance use points to a strong link between obesity and tobacco use; however, the pathways and processes underlying this co-occurrence are unclear.
The RHAYA Lab is currently conducting a prospective cohort study to identify developmental pathways and risk processes to co-occurring health-risks during emerging adulthood. The study aims to collect longitudinal health survey data (five timepoints over two years) from a probability sample of N = 1,500 young adults (18-24 years) enrolled as undergraduates at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). This study is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS; SC3GM125548; PI: Lanza).
CSULB Health-Risk Behavior Pilot Study 2 (2018-2020)
During the 2018-2019 academic year, the RHAYA Lab conducted a longitudinal online survey study titled, “Biobehavioral, Social-contextual, and Psychosocial Processes Underlying Co-occurring Obesity and E-cigarette/Vaping Use”. A representative sample of 447 California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) undergraduates were recruited to inform the processes and pathways of co-occurring health-risks, with an emphasis on obesity and tobacco use. In 2019-2020, the RHAYA Lab analyzed and published data from this study showing that e-cigarette use (nicotine vaping) co-occurs to a large extent with binge drinking and cannabis use in young adulthood (Lanza, Motlagh, & Orozco, 2020).
Frequent e-cigarette/Vape Users Focus Group Study (2019-2020)
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the RHAYA Lab conducted a focus group study on frequent e-cigarette/vape users. This research stems from recent findings showing that adolescents and young adults engaged in e-cigarette/vaping use are at higher risk of initiating and progressing to cigarette smoking, as well as more frequent and severe e-cigarette/vaping use. This qualitative focus group study sought to understand the product characteristics that frequent vape users find attractive, the behavioral and contextual factors that result in more frequent or severe vaping use and cigarette smoking initiation, and beliefs about future expectations of vaping use.
Long Beach Vape Shop Study (2015-2018)
As e-cigarette/ vaping use enters its second decade in the US market, its regulation and status as a novel form of substance use is evolving; accordingly, it is unknown whether the presence of vape shops has changed as well. During a three-year period (September 2015-Septermber 2018), the RHAYA lab conducted a study to track the growth of vape shops in Long Beach, CA, which included observational data to better understand the vape shop context and determine whether socialization spaces were associated with a vape shop’s ultimate success – remaining operational. A 53% decline in vape shop presence was observed between 2015-2018. A comparison of vape shops remaining open versus those closing in the 3-year period indicated that shops with designated socialization spaces (lounges/tasting bars) were more likely to remain operational (Lanza & Pittman, 2019).
CSULB Health-Risk Behavior Pilot Study 1 (2015-2017)
During the 2015-2016 academic year, the RHAYA Lab conducted its first study titled “Health-risk Behaviors among Undergraduates: The Rise of E-cigarette/Vaping Use and its Co-occurrence with Obesity”. The RHAYA Lab recruited 452 CSULB undergraduates across campus to complete a one-time survey on health-risk behaviors. This data was analyzed and subsequently published indicating e-cigarette/vaping use was significantly associated with multiple health-risk behaviors, including binge drinking, cigarette smoking, and obesity status (Lanza, Pittman, & Batshoun, 2017; Lanza & Teeter, 2018).