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Completed Projects


Compassion Cultivation Training among Gender and Sexual Minorities

Co-Principal Investigators: Jessie Simonetti, Ph.D.; Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D., & Matthew Skinta, Ph.D., ABPP

This study was a randomized, controlled trial of an empirically-based psychoeducation program called Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT).  This program was recently developed by Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research & Education to help train individuals on how to cultivate compassion and improve resilience. Currently, there are no published studies on the impact of any formal compassion training program, including CCT, with gender and sexual minorities (GSM). To address this gap, this study aimed to examine the influence of CCT on reducing emotional distress (i.e. depression, anxiety, stigma, shame) and improving well-being (i.e. mindfulness, compassion) among GSM adults. CCT for LGBTQ groups were conducted in the winter and spring of 2018. The purpose of this study was to utilize CCT to shift awareness and every day practices of compassion to not only be utilized in moments of deep suffering, but also as an active anchor or stance in daily life.  Results from this study are promising and will be presented at the APA 2020 Convention. A manuscript for publication is in the works--stay tuned!

TGNC Parents Project

Co-Principal Investigators: Genevieve M. Heyne, Ph.D. & Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D.

This study will examine and explore pregnancy and parenting among persons whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth.  The online survey will be launched in Fall 2017 and will be available for participation in North America. The purpose of the study is to understand how pregnancy and parenting influence the ways that gender diverse people think about their gender identity and expression, challenges, resiliency, romantic relationships, body satisfaction, self-perception, social experiences, mental health, and other aspects of their lives.  In addition, this study explores participants’ daily experiences as trans, non-binary, or gender non-conforming people to better understand the unique strengths and challenges that may arise. The investigators hope that the information gathered through this survey will be useful in educating others about the issues, experiences, and characteristics that are unique to parents with this gender identity.


Formerly Incarcerated Women’s Empowerment and Well-Being Study

Principal Investigator: Rebecca Gitlin, Ph.D.

Dissertation Chair: Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D.

This original dissertation study explored potential contributors to empowerment and psychological well-being among formerly incarcerated women. Quantitative and qualitative data from 45 formerly incarcerated women in the San Francisco Bay Area were collected February and August 2014. Participants were recruited through online advertising and through community agencies, including direct service providers and advocacy groups. The quantitative survey included measures of gender role orientation, demographics, participation in intimate (familial, romantic, and/or sexual) relationship during incarceration, empowerment, and psychological well-being. Qualitative data exploring feminist ideology was also gathered through participants’ short written responses to guided prompts. This study aimed to lay groundwork for future research on social justice and health among formerly incarcerated women through the lens of gender, sexuality, and relationships.



LGB Service Member Study

Co-Principal Investigators: Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D., Peter Goldblum, Ph.D., CAPT Scott Johnson, Ph.D., Christina Rincon, Ph.D., Wyatt Evans, Ph.D., Sebastian Bliss, Ph.D.

Between July 2014 and May 2015, researchers from the Center for LGBTQ Evidence Based Applied Research conducted this survey of LGB service members’ demographics, stressors, mental health in order to better understand the climate in the military for LGB individuals since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Measures of physical health, mental health, demographics, minority stress, suicidality, and mental health care utilization were included in the survey. These researchers aimed to use the information to gain greater understanding of the experiences of LGB service members, whose voices have historically been silenced by discriminatory, anti-LGB policies in the military. Participants were recruited from listservs, word-of-mouth within military units, and from media articles and advertising. Participants included 238 individuals involved in current military service in active duty, guard, or reserve components who identify their sexual identity/orientation as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.



Men’s Online Research on Psychological Health (MORPH)

Co-Principal Investigators: Michael Richards, Ph.D., Predair Robinson, Ph.D., Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D.

The MORPH study to examined the current status of mental health among gay, bisexual, and queer men. This study aimed to understand various factors including personality, high risk health behaviors, and modern uses of technology.



Trans Health Survey

Co-Principal Investigators: Kimberly Balsam, Ph.D., Rylan Jay Testa, Ph.D

Other Contributors: Jayme Peta, Ph.D.

Between February and June 2013, trans-identified and LGB researchers from the Center for LGBTQ Evidence-based Applied Research (CLEAR) conducted this survey of trans people’s stress, resilience, and health to improve understanding of what stressors and resilience factors influence trans people’s physical and emotional health. Measures included in the survey included questions about participant demographics, gender, minority-specific stress and resilience, general stress and resilience, and current mental and physical health. These researchers aimed to use the information provided by all participants to improve medical and mental health services for all trans people.


Participants were recruited from national and California-based transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) listservs, social media sites related to TGNC and LGBT issues, and contact with leaders in the TGNC community. The term trans is used most broadly to include anyone who currently identifies as any gender different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Of the 1427 individuals who began the survey, the final participants included 940 persons who identify as men and women (as long as different from sex assigned at birth), trans woman, MTF, trans man, FTM, genderqueer, both male and female, neither male nor female, and crossdresser.

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