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Homosexual identity formation: Testing a theoretical model

Cass, V.C. (1984) Homosexual identity formation: Testing a theoretical model. The Journal of Sex Research, 20 (2). pp. 143-167.

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Of late, researchers in the area of homosexuality have emphasized the study of homosexual identity formation. Several models have been put forward depicting the process of identity acquisition, but little attempt has been made to test either their accuracy or generality. The study outlined in this paper assesses the validity of several important aspects of my six-stage model of homosexual identity acquisition. To this end, a questionnaire was constructed to measure a number of factors believed to be critical to homosexual identity development. Responses of subjects at each stage were examined to ascertain the degree to which they corresponded with ideal stage descriptions predicted from the model. Results provided some support for the validity of these descriptions and. for the order of the stages. The data describe a four-stage, rather than a six-stage model. To check that these findings were not the result of researcher bias, a discriminant analysis was carried out. This indicated that the postulated six-stage groups could be distinguished. Ways of revising the scoring keys so as to maximize group differences are discussed. Both similarities and differences were apparent between male and female subjects, but the small sample limited the degree to which conclusions could be drawn about these. Implications of these findings for other models of homosexual identity formation are discussed.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 1984, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
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