Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 867–883 | Cite as

Configurations of Identity Among Sexual Minority Youth: Context, Desire, and Narrative

  • Phillip L. HammackEmail author
  • Elisabeth Morgan Thompson
  • Andrew Pilecki
Empirical Research


Youth with same-sex desire undergo a process of narrative engagement as they construct configurations of identity that provide meaning and coherence with available sexual taxonomies. This article presents a theoretical analysis and four case studies centering on the relationship among context, desire, and identity for youth with same-sex desire. Through an interpretive, holistic analysis of the personal narratives of youth, we examine the integration of same-sex desire, behavior, and identity in the general life story and the selective appropriation of elements of “master narratives” of sexual identity development. Narratives were characterized by challenges to integrate desire, behavior, and identity into a configuration that conformed to the received sexual taxonomy. Implications for theory and further research on sexual identity development are discussed.


Identity Narrative Sexuality Gay/lesbian Interpretive 



The authors acknowledge the research assistance of Jessica Andrews, Timothy Bartell, David Buennagel, and Natasha Gintel.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip L. Hammack
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisabeth Morgan Thompson
    • 1
  • Andrew Pilecki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA

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