2024 Survey opening in August

Researching Well-being
at the Intersections of Sexuality,
Gender, Identity, and Faith

An Introduction to the
4 Options Survey

Welcome to our research initiative, a collaborative endeavor led by a diverse team of mental health professionals, researchers, and academics across the sociopolitical spectrum. Our mission is to explore the complex interplay of factors contributing to life satisfaction and mental health among sexual and gender minorities.

We use the term “sexual and gender minorities” as an inclusive umbrella to encompass a broad spectrum of experiences, identities, backgrounds, religious or spiritual traditions, and social and cultural worldviews. This term includes individuals who are not exclusively heterosexual and cisgender (those whose gender identity aligns with their birth sex) and extends to those who identify as LGBTQIA+, as well as those who may not identify with or use these specific labels. Recognizing the unique journey of each individual, we are dedicated to exploring these diverse paths with an emphasis on ethical principles, including self-determination and a commitment to do no harm.

We’ve designed our research to respect the diverse experiences and identities of sexual and gender minority individuals and communities. Rather than prescribing specific “right paths,” we focus on identifying a broad range of variables, strategies, traits, and circumstances that can either nurture or hinder flourishing in each person's unique journey. Whether individuals are navigating relationships, embracing singleness, or integrating sexual and gender identities with religious or spiritual beliefs, we explore how these diverse life experiences intersect and influence mental health and life satisfaction. Central to our work is the belief that understanding these intersections can lead to more effective, empathetic, and inclusive support strategies. We hope to illuminate these crucial aspects, contributing to an understanding of diverse experiences and life paths that promote health, satisfaction, and flourishing.

Building on the success of the original 4 Options Survey in 2017, which provided invaluable insights and raised significant new questions—we have published 19 peer-reviewed articles from the collected data (with details available on our Results page)—we extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants for their invaluable contributions. Our 2024 study aims to delve deeper into these initial findings. If you were a participant in the 2017 survey, your continued involvement is highly valued. We invite you to contribute again, as your experiences and insights are essential in furthering our understanding and improving the well-being of sexual and gender minorities from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

Please Help Us Spread the Word!

Please share this survey with others whose experiences can contribute to our growing body of knowledge in this important journey of discovery and understanding. Your participation and support in sharing this survey are instrumental in broadening the impact of our research.

Purpose of the Study

Similar to our 2017 study, this survey is designed to identify key aspects of life and relationships for those who experience (or have experienced) same-sex attractions or gender identity incongruence/dysphoria, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and/or asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+), as well as those who identify as heterosexual, or with another sexual or gender identity or reject a label. We aim to analyze the factors contributing to flourishing in the following groups:
Single and celibate
Committed to not being sexual
with another person.
Single and not celibate
Open to being sexual with someone
without a commitment.
In a heterosexual/mixed-orientation relationship
An opposite-sex relationship in which one partner—or both—experiences (or has experienced) same-sex attractions
or identifies as LGBTQIA+.
In a same-sex/gender/
queer relationship
While we have identified these as four primary options, we acknowledge they could also be considered as broader "umbrella" categories. Within these, there may exist various sub-categories or variations. Regardless of how you might categorize your relationship or single status, if you find that your situation falls outside of these outlined options, we still encourage your participation. There will be opportunities to identify any nuances or variations in your experiences during the survey.

Your unique perspective is invaluable in helping us broaden our understanding of the diverse range of possibilities. In this survey, we are also interested in how sexual and gender identities intertwine with religious or spiritual beliefs. We hope to explore the roles that religious or spiritual experiences play in shaping respondents' levels of satisfaction and well-being, in relation to their relationship or single status. We also hope to identify what helps individuals resolve distress related to conflicts between religion, sexual orientation, and gender diversity.

Commitment to Diversity & Ethics

Sexuality, gender, and sexual/gender identity can be personally sensitive and politically divisive. In order to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible of different individuals’ and communities' experiences, and in the spirit of the work of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and others in speaking to the importance of political diversity to advancing social science (see “Political diversity will improve social psychological science", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 38, 1-13), we have assembled an ideologically diverse research team to collaborate on this important study.

We recognize that the socio-political diversity of our team might raise concerns from participants, but we’re confident that this kind of diversity is critical to fully understanding some of the critical nuances of the phenomena we study. The researchers on this project all support self-determination for sexual and gender minorities and are committed to the highest professional ethics.

Begin the Survey and/or Follow Along to see Results