NCCOSC Partners with Palo Alto University to Study Psychological Health of LGB Service Members

Story Number: NNS140718-23Release Date: 7/18/2014 3:11:00 PM
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By Regena Kowitz, Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Naval Center for Combat & Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC), in partnership with Palo Alto University, launched a study to examine the psychological health and well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) service members July 3.

"NCCOSC is teaming up with Palo Alto University to conduct the Survey of LGB Service Members, an IRB-approved study, to better understand LGB service members since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said Capt. Scott Johnston, NCCOSC director and Navy Medicine's specialty leader for psychology. "The repeal of this policy really implemented a culture change for the U.S. military and it's incredibly important to comprehend how this shift is not just impacting our people, but also affecting readiness."

In addition to studying the overall psychological health and emotional well-being of service members, the survey will examine their experiences serving in the military, LGB identity, relationships and social support, discrimination and access to health care.

According to Dr. Jagruti Bhakta, a research psychologist at NCCOSC and an associate investigator for the study, one of the reasons this study is important is because of the long-standing policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) there has been limited research and published scientific knowledge about the psychological health and well-being of LGB service members.

"As the U.S. military adjusts to the repeal of DADT, it will be imperative to understand the needs and struggles of LGB service members in order to effectively support and enhance their well-being," said Bhakta. "Results from this study will be made available to the public, including health care providers, civilian organizations and the military community, to help educate and inform clinical practices, advance research and guide policy."

Researchers are expecting to recruit approximately 400 study participants serving on active duty, in the reserves, or in the National Guard. Participants will be asked to take an anonymous, web-based survey, which will take 30-45 minutes to complete. A link to the survey can be found on the NCCOSC website at

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