June 19, 2024

Health Psychology is launching a special issue focused on health inequities among sexual and gender minority (SGM) communities with a specific focus on mechanisms, interventions, and implementation. This special issue seeks to answer pressing problems experienced by SGM communities across clinical, community, and policy settings. The special issue is designed to advance the field of behavioral medicine to ensure the inclusion and prioritization of SGM communities.

Guest editors

  • Dr. Brian Mustanski, Northwestern University
  • Adam Carrico, Florida International University
  • Kristi Gamarel, University of Michigan
  • Dustin T. Duncan, Columbia University

Aims of the special issue

Research on SGM health has seen impressive growth, including increased funding, the launch of dedicated conferences, journals, and designation as a disparity population in the US and globally. Yet inequities persist based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Although there has been much attention in descriptive studies to document the existence of health inequalities in SGM communities, this growth in research has not been accompanied by evidence for improvements in health outcomes. Translational research is urgently needed (i.e., mechanisms, intervention, implementation) to move beyond merely documenting the presence of disparities to focus on targeting prominent multi-level determinants to eradicate SGM health inequities and such studies will be focus of this special issue.

Articles in the special issue will address such topics as:

  • Mechanistic research: Mechanisms explaining inequities or variability in health outcomes by sexual orientation and gender identity: For example, we need to develop and test new theories for the biopsychosocial mechanisms that link social forces to SGM disparities in physical and mental health outcomes. Studies examining biobehavioral mechanisms (e.g., mRNA gene expression) linking social and psychological determinants to health outcomes in SGM populations are strongly encouraged.
  • Intervention science: Using mechanistic findings to inform, adapt, develop, and test interventions to reduce SGM health inequities is urgently needed. Ideally, research to eliminate SGM health inequities will move toward multi-level, developmentally informed interventions.
  • Implementation science research: Studies using hybrid effectiveness-implementation, stepped-wedge and other relevant designs that inform how to reduce the gap between evidence and practice.
  • Measurement science: Psychometric work including studies that validate psychometric measures (e.g., research on content validity, construct validity, and predictive validity) in SGM populations will be considered. We will prioritize psychometric work in new scales or rigorous studies of previously validated scales in a new or understudied SGM populations. Research on questionnaires or other assessment instruments should be based on modern psychometric methods. A convincing case should be made for a new, modified, or translated measure, and it should be relevant to a large segment of the journal’s readership.
  • Translational focus: Epidemiological, health care policies, health economics, and health care delivery studies that create opportunities for the development or improvement of health-related behavioral interventions.
  • Review studies: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses in SGM populations will be considered.
  • Ethics research: Health ethics-related research in SGM populations will be considered including methods to enhance informed consent and banking of specimens for future research.
  • All manuscripts should utilize rigorous research methods, including but not limited to quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. Qualitative work can include interviews and focus groups in samples that will allow generalizability. Quantitative approaches can include psychometric work, regression-based methods, and structural equation modeling with a preference for longitudinal, intervention, and implementation studies. Samples can be clinical, community, or population-based.
  • Data can come from any country. However, we will not consider replication studies in a new context. That said, studies focused on SGM populations from low- and middle-income countries will be considered.
  • Commentaries and debate articles will be accepted by invitation only. Please contact the editors through the letter of intention process below if interested in proposing such a piece.

Papers that will be considered non-responsive and not reviewed for this special issue:

  • Exclusively descriptive studies that focus on documenting the existence of SGM health inequities through group comparisons with SGM populations.
  • Articles that do not have a health outcome will not be considered. This could include clinically relevant health outcomes, biomarkers, or health behaviors such as hypertension, salivary cortisol, and physical activity behaviors.

Submission details

We encourage authors who are interested in submitting an article for this ongoing special series to submit a letter of intent (LOI) with an abstract to facilitate fit. The letter should convey:

  • how the proposed manuscript will address the goals of the special series and
  • help the editors identify reviewers and invited commentaries.

Approval to submit a manuscript does not guarantee acceptance or inclusion in the special series.

LOIs are not required but are strongly encouraged and are due by December 15th. Please submit LOIs through the journal portal. When submitting an LOI, please select the Article Type category “Letter of Intent for Special Issue/Section” in the Editorial Manager System.

  • Manuscripts should be prepared according to Health Psychology Instructions for Authors and adhere to APA style requirements.
  • They should be submitted through the journal’s Editorial Manager manuscript submission portal.
  • Choose the Article Type category “Sexual and Gender Minority Health Inequities” in the Editorial Manager system.
  • Manuscripts submitted to the special series will undergo peer review.


Again, submission of LOIs and abstracts while not required are strongly encouraged. The deadlines for this special issue are as follows:

  • LOI and abstract (optional): December 15, 2023
  • Paper submission: February 15, 2024

Date created: November 2023


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