Community Partners talk with investigators about research priorities

What is The PRIDE Study Actually Studying?

Researchers use our data (or collect new data) to answer questions they care about and that matter to the community.

In order to do so, they go through a rigorous review process to ensure not only that their research is high quality, but also that the research responds to community needs. That’s where PRIDEnet comes in.

PRIDEnet (our network of participants, community partner organizations, and advisors) ensures that LGBTQ communities are informed about The PRIDE Study research. Our Participant Advisory Committee (PAC) requires every researcher who accesses our data to write a brief summary of what they plan to do (in addition to other information) so that everyone — including you — is kept informed.

We’re thrilled to announce that studies on skin cancer, aging, drinking and depression, body image, migraines and trauma, and breast/chest health have been approved by the PAC as relevant to community needs and are currently being conducted through The PRIDE Study. The summaries below describe these studies which are in various stages of data collection. We look forward to getting you the results just as soon as they’re ready!

Sun & Skin Survey: Sarah Arron, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with approximately 5 million Americans treated each year. Skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet light, and is strongly associated with preventable risks such as outdoor sun exposure and indoor tanning beds. Our research group has previously shown that gay men are six times more likely to use tanning beds than straight men, and twice as likely to have skin cancer. Our goal is to describe the use of indoor tanning in sexual minority men in The PRIDE Study, and to learn whether indoor tanning is associated with increased skin cancer risk. We will study how skin cancer affects quality of life in sexual minority men, and what motivates men to use indoor tanning beds. This study will help us to design public health efforts to reduce indoor tanning in sexual minority men, with the long-term goal of reducing skin cancer.

Rainbows of Aging Survey: Jason Flatt, PhD, MPH,at the Institute for Health & Aging, Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Nursing

More than 2 million LGBTQ adults over 50 live in the United States. This number will double by 2030. Not a lot is known about their health or health care needs. This study will describe the health problems of LGBTQ adults age 50+. We will work with The PRIDE Study team to collect data using an online survey. We will compare the health of LGBTQ adults age 50+ to another group of heterosexuals. This will help us to find health problems that need more attention. We will also try to find ways to improve these health problems. We will do this by asking about experiences and habits that are good and bad for health. This study hopes to find new ways to improve the health and health care of LGBTQ older adults.

Understanding Drinking and Depression among Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women: Briana McGeough, MSW/PhD student at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Work

Lesbian, bisexual, and queer women drink more alcohol and experience more depression than heterosexual women. It is important that we better understand why lesbian, bisexual, and queer women drink more alcohol and experience more depression, so we can better help women who are struggling . This study tries to help us better understand how lesbian, bisexual and queer women cope with discrimination, which coping strategies make their drinking and depression better, and which strategies make their drinking and depression worse. We think that drinking to cope with discrimination makes depression worse. We also think that trying to avoid our feelings about experiences of discrimination makes drinking and depression worse, whereas talking to friends about discrimination makes drinking and depression better. In this study, we will test these ideas. We will use what we find to come up with suggestions for ways for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women to cope with discrimination that make their drinking and depression better rather than worse.

Eating & Body Image Questionnaire: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc, Clinical Fellow in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and a Trainee in the Pediatric Scientist Development Program, University of California, San Francisco

The goal of this study is to better understand disordered eating behaviors and body image concerns in sexual and gender minorities. We will ask The PRIDE Study participants standardized questions that have been developed to detect eating disorders and body image concerns. We are particularly interested in examining muscle dysmorphia, an obsessive preoccupation that one’s body is too small or insufficiently muscular, and use of androgenic anabolic steroids particularly among gay and transgender males. Another goal of the study is to understand how common eating disorder symptoms are in sexual and gender minorities.

Migraine Headache & Trauma Survey: Nicole Rosendale, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco

Migraine headache is a common and often disabling condition, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Although prior studies have suggested that a history of trauma is associated with higher prevalence and severity of migraine, these studies have not included the LGBTQ community. This study seeks to understand how common and how severe migraine headache is in LGBTQ-identified individuals as well as to examine if there is an association between migraine-related disability and a history of trauma within the LGBTQ community.

Breast/Chest Health Survey: Loretta (Lori) M. Strachowski, MD, Clinical Professor, Radiology & Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco

This survey includes questions about the breast/chest health of gender minority individuals. This includes people whose sex assigned at birth does not match their current gender identity. This study is exploring lifestyle choices that may be associated with being at higher risk for breast cancer, beliefs about risk for breast cancer, what healthcare providers share with patients about their risk, what patients do to take care of their breast/chest health, what they may be doing to look for breast cancer, and about their overall experience of taking care of their breast/chest health. The results of this study will guide us in making recommendations about breast cancer testing including who should get tested and how often tests should be performed. It will also help us learn about what gender minority patients know, what they are doing, their experience in seeking breast/chest healthcare, and their suggestions for providers. This will help us improve the way we can take care of the breast/chest health of gender minority individuals.

Social Media Use in the Sexual and Gender Minority Community: Healthy or Harmful?: Erin Vogel, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Psychiatry and Weill Institute for Neurociences, University of California, San Francisco

Using social media sites, like Facebook or Instagram, can be healthy or unhealthy. Social media use is healthy when it helps people feel supported by others and connected to others. This might be especially important to sexual and gender minority (SGM) social media users, because social media gives us a safe space to connect with other SGM people. On the other hand, some research shows that frequent social media use is not healthy. When people use social media, they sometimes compare themselves to other people and then feel bad about themselves. People may also see pictures and posts about other people doing things that might hurt their health, such as smoking or heavy drinking. These pictures and posts make unhealthy behaviors seem normal and acceptable, which can encourage other people to behave the same way. In this study, we want to know when social media use is healthy for the SGM community and when it is harmful. Results may be used to help healthcare providers make recommendations to SGM clients. We also hope to start a conversation in our community about how to use social media in a healthy way.