"We are looking to assess how improvements in the social environment of LGB people, such as the expansion of same-sex marriages, affect the life and health of LGB people and what implications these changes may have to policies such as the delivery of social and health services." 
                                                                                                           -Ilan Meyer, Principal Investigator and Senior Scholar at the Williams Institute


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals continue to suffer disparities in health outcomes compared to heterosexual peers. Social changes have significantly altered the developmental trajectories of today's LGB peoples, requiring we re-examine our knowledge of stress and health in this population. Documenting generational differences in identity, stress, and health will help improve provision of health services and achieve the public health service goal of reducing health disparities related to sexual orientation. 

Study Aims

  1. Assess whether the younger cohort of LGBs differ from the older cohorts in how they view their LGB identity;

  2. Compare the 3 cohorts' experience of stress related to homophobia, for example, whether the younger LGBs experience more or less prejudice-related stressful life events, antigay violence, and everyday forms for discrimination; 

  3. Understand how yonger LGBs utilize LGB-identified social and health services, and whether they are less likely to affiliate with such services than older LGBs; and

  4. Assess whether patterns of stress and resilience of different cohorts of LGBs differ and how differences in stress experience affect mental health and well-being, including depressive and anxiety symptoms, substance and alcohol use, and suicide ideation and behavior. 


Investigators in the Generations study will use both qualitative and quantitative methods, asking about LGB people's sense of identity and identification with the LGB community, stressors, and challenges they experience, resilience and sources of strength, and health and well-being. 

  1. Qualitative: The qualitative portion of the study collects narrative life histories of Black, Latino, White, and Asian LGB individuals living in urban and non-urban regions of New York, California, Arizona, and Texas. The qualitative portion was completed March 2016.   
  2. Quantitative: An innovative quantitative survey procedure will identify Black, Latino, and White LGB individuals in the United States. Respondents will participate in the study over a 5-year period to detect changes in the social environment as people age. 


The Generations study is being conducted by researchers at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF),University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), University of Arizona, and Columbia University.  The study is affiliated with the California Center for Population Research (CCPR) at UCLA. A distinguished advisory board of scientists was also appointed for study quality assurance. Meet the research team


The Generations study is funded by a $3.4 million federal grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD grant 1R01HD078526)