Autistic-LGBTQ Writing Intervention Study

Research Study

Organization: University of Massachusetts Boston




My name is Meredith Maroney and I am currently completing my doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I’m part of an LGBTQ-affirmative research-advocacy group at the University of Massachusetts Boston — the LGBTQ UMass Boston Advocacy and Research Collaborative (

The purpose of my study is to explore the effectiveness of brief online exercises among autistic LGBTQ people. Heterosexist experiences can include harassment, discrimination, threats, violence, and other ways of being treated differently because of one’s sexual orientation. These events can create stress in people’s lives and influence their mental health. Our preliminary analyses have found that over 90% of our participants reported the exercises that we have developed to be beneficial. As a result, we are hoping to disseminate these exercises broadly as an accessible and inexpensive way (no charge) to support people in our community in coping with and resisting heterosexist experiences. These exercises also are part of a research project and so allow people to contribute to the continued development of exercises that support autistic-LGBTQ people by giving us feedback on their efficacy.

I am hoping you would be willing to help us by distributing this email to your members and giving them the option to personally benefit from the exercises, and to contribute to better understanding the mental health of autistic-LGBTQ people who have experienced heterosexist events. All participants will be entered into a raffle to for a $100 gift card. Those who complete all study activities will receive one $50 Amazon gift card.

In total, the entire study should take three hours to complete across five days (about 20-30 minutes on four of the days and 45-50 minutes on one day). The study involves completing:

    • A brief phone screening (~5 minutes)
    • A questionnaire on the first day
    • A writing exercise on each of the following three days
    • A follow-up questionnaire one month later

To Participate: You must be autistic (formal diagnosis not necessary), LGBTQ identified, over 18, and have had an experience of heterosexism that is still troubling to you and that you can explore in English. Participation is online and can be done at home. Also, you must not have a legal guardian who would have to provide consent for your participation.

The link to the survey for autistic participants is:

If you have any questions, please let us know by writing to us at This study has been approved by the University of Massachusetts Boston Institutional Review Board. If you have questions about your rights as participants, please contact the University of Massachusetts Boston IRB at or 617-287-5370.

Thank you!
We really appreciate your support to better LGBTQ lives.

Meredith Maroney, MS & Heidi Levitt, PhD University of Massachusetts