The measurement of sexual orientations in research studies is becoming increasingly prevalent despite little critical examination of how this should be done. This paper reviews how sexual orientations have been measured historically, and provides a review of the strengths and limitations of each measure. Measures of sexual orientation are categorized as: 1) dichotomous, 2) bipolar (such as the Kinsey Scale), 3) multidimensional (such as the Klein Scale), and/or 4) orthogonal (such as the scale proposed by Shively and DeCecco). A new measure of sexual orientation, the Sell Assessment of Sexual Orientation, is proposed based upon this review. Finally, methods of scoring and summarizing the proposed measure are discussed.
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This investigation was supported by Health Resources and Services Administration, National Research Service Award T32PE10012 from the Bureau of Health Professions.
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Sell, R.L. The Sell Assessment of Sexual Orientation: Background and Scoring. International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies 1, 295–310 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03372244
- sexual orientation