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Home › Graduate › Ph.D. Clinical Psychology › Research Labs › Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Research Group

 Kimberly F. Balsam, Ph.D.


The LGBT and Gender  Research Group is focused on the study of mental and physical health concerns of LGBT people over the lifespan, identifying factors and processes that that contribute to health disparities between LGBT and heterosexual populations, and developing strategies to address these disparities and promote health and well-being among LGBT individuals, couples, and communities.  The group also includes a particular emphasis on the intersection of sexual and gender identities with other identities, particularly race and ethnicity.  Additionally, we are expanding our focus to include studies of how gender and sexuality are related to health and well-being more broadly in populations other than LGBT.  The group provides opportunities for students to engage in research projects at all phases, including conducting literature reviews, writing grants, translating research questions into research designs, developing human subjects proposals, developing surveys and interview guides, recruiting and engaging with research subjects, collecting data, managing databases, conducting statistical analyses, and preparing presentations and manuscripts based on results.  Students may also have the opportunity to work with me on other research-related tasks, such as peer review of manuscripts submitted to academic journals. 


I currently am finishing up work as the PI on an R01 grant from NIH to examine legal status, stigma, and well-being among same-sex and heterosexual couples.  In the next year, launching a new spinoff project in which we will interview the young adult children of same-sex and heterosexual parents. I am also Co-PI on a recently completed NIH grant that is a longitudinal study of alcohol use and related problems among ethnically diverse sexual minority women and am an investigator on a collaborative project with researchers in the Navy examining health and stressors among LGB people in the military.  Other current or recent projects in the lab include studies of serious mental illness among LGB adults, personality and health factors among adult gay and bisexual men, adults whose gender identity is non-binary, experiences of transgender men who are parents, and and a compassion-based prevention psychoeducational group for LGBT adults, and sexual risk issues among transgender men.  We are currently working on launching a new project on forensic psychology focused on LGBT populations. I also have done a great deal of work and have archival data on minority stress, trauma, and mental health outcomes among diverse LGBT people.  I am particularly interested in developing new projects related to intersectionality and multiple identities, non-binary gender and sexual identities, and interventions to reduce stigma and its effects.


During the first year in the research group (2nd year in the Ph.D. program), students will work with me on one of my ongoing projects in order to gain hands-on experience with research.  By the second year in the research group (3rd year in the program), students will identify their own research questions and will begin to pursue their own dissertation research project under my mentorship and guidance.  All students will be expected to familiarize themselves with the current body of empirical literature on LGBT and gender psychology and will be encouraged to think critically and creatively about the challenges and strengths of this population. 


Lab expectations

  • Mandatory attendance at lab meetings.  Meetings will be held weekly for one hour.  More than one unexcused absence and more than three excused absences during the year may result in dismissal from the lab.
  • Completing assigned tasks by agreed-upon deadlines.  I find that a research lab works best when expectations are clear and deadlines are respected by all members.  Students will generally have assignments that are due 24 hours prior to each meeting.  Failure to complete assigned tasks in a timely fashion may result in dismissal from the lab.
  • Willingness to participate in a variety of research tasks as described above.
  • Working at least 4-5 hours per week. 
  • Willingness to complete readings as assigned.  This may involve purchasing some assigned books.
  • Presentations and publications: Students are expected to submit at least one first-author poster or conference presentation by their second year in the lab (3rd year in the program).  Students are also expected to serve as a co-author on at least one manuscript submitted for publication during their time in the lab.  Other opportunities for presentation and publication, both as first author and a co-author, will be available for students who are interested.


Lab philosophy/approach

The above guidelines are the minimum requirements for participation in the LGBT and Gender research group.  However, it is my hope that all students in the lab will take advantage of the multiple opportunities for learning that are presented to them.  Mentoring is a two-way street, and research skills are best learned through mentored, hands-on experience.  Students who approach their work in the lab with a willingness to work hard and a desire to learn will inevitably gain more skills to help launch their careers.  While students’ work in my lab will begin with assisting me in my projects, they will be expected to begin developing their own ideas by the end of their first year.  My goal is for students to gain the skills and knowledge to be able to conduct high-quality, publishable research and to become experts in the emerging fields of LGBT and gender psychology.


Openings: 2 members to join the group in September 2017.


Apply: Submit the following items to Dr. Balsam by the PAU deadline:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • One-two page cover letter describing past research experience and research interests related to LGBT and gender psychology
  • Your current PAU transcript
  • Your Research Methods proposal paper from Fall quarter


Notification: Students accepted into LGBT and Gender Research Group will be notified by email at the standard notification deadline.

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1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888





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