Texas Tech University

Student Testimonial: Research Opportunities for Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy Students

Hannah Fields

September 14, 2020

Natira Mullet

Natira Mullet interviewed with six universities, ultimately choosing the Texas Tech’s Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy program because it felt like home.

Natira Mullet, who recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy, has a rich academic background holding a B.S. in Mathematics (2011), B.S. in Psychology (2014), M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in Couple and Family Therapy (2017), and two graduate certificates, one in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies (2017) and one in Financial Therapy (2017).

When deciding where she wanted to pursue her Ph.D., Natira interviewed with six universities, ultimately choosing the Texas Tech's Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy program because it felt like home.

"I could tell from my interactions with students and faculty that the people in this program care about each other," Natira said. "Throughout the interview process, I felt equally challenged and supported by the faculty and other interviewees. Also, this program is full of award-winning faculty who have been recognized for their contributions to the Marriage and Family Therapy field, teaching, research, and minority development. I also appreciated the program's dedication to diversity."

Natira's two-article dissertation is entitled "The Role of Family Cohesion and Cultural Identification as Moderators of Sexual Assault and Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors: Multiple Group Analyses."

"The first article focuses on the relationship between sexual assault and self-esteem and depression," Natira explains. "The second article focuses on sexual assault and marijuana and alcohol use. Both articles utilize samples of American Indian and White adolescent females."

Natira was drawn to her research because of the lack of focus on minority populations in family research. Of the scant literature that does examine minority populations, Natira says much of it fails to follow best practices for conducting research with minorities. She goes on to explain that, without good information, clinicians and researchers are left to make inferences about treatment and relationships with these communities based on research with little data.

"This leaves many minority communities without the necessary resources to meet their specific needs," Natira said. "Therapy is meant to be a safe space for any human who is brave enough to seek help, but right now it is informed mainly from White perspectives and it is important that we do better. I believe conducting ethical research with minorities is one way we can do better."

In addition to her research, Natira manages Dr. Antover Tuliao's Culture, Substance Use, and Decision-Making Lab in the Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies Program. Currently, they are assessing an intervention known as the NCAA Team Effort Project to help reduce risky drinking behaviors and associated outcomes among college students. The intervention was carried out over text messages and social media in collaboration with the NCAA, Texas Tech athletes, and Texas Tech undergraduate students.

"The NCAA Team Effort project is important because it provides a step towards creating a sense of shared responsibility when it comes to risky alcohol use behaviors among TTU undergraduate students," Natira said. "This intervention is carried out on an individual level and challenges students to consider the risk level of their own behaviors. However, I believe utilizing student-athletes as models for relaying this information will help other students feel more comfortable doing the same."

Currently, Natira is in the process of applying to postdoctoral fellowships and assistant professor positions in both Human Development and Family Sciences and Couple, Marriage and Family Therapy.