, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 103-110

Prevalence and Stability of Self-Reported Sexual Orientation Identity During Young Adulthood

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Abstract

Based on date from Wave 3 and Wave 4 from National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (N = 12,287), known as Add Health, the majority of young adults identified their sexual orientation as 100% heterosexual. The second largest identity group, “mostly heterosexual,” was larger than all other nonheterosexual identities combined. Comparing distributions across waves, which were approximately 6 years apart, stability of sexual orientation identity was more common than change. Stability was greatest among men and those identifying as heterosexual. Individuals who identified as 100% homosexual reported nearly the same level of stability as 100% heterosexuals. The bisexual category was the most unstable, with one quarter maintaining that status at Wave 4. Bisexual men who changed their identity distributed themselves among all other categories; among bisexual women, the most common shift was toward mostly heterosexual. Reflecting changes in identity, the proportion of heterosexuals decreased between the two waves.