Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1251–1264 | Cite as

Examining the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale Among Members of an Alternative Sexuality Special Interest Group

  • Robert J. Cramer
  • Frank D. Golom
  • Tess M. Gemberling
  • Kristen Trost
  • Robin Lewis
  • Susan Wright
Original Paper


The present study contributes to a growing body of literature developing psychometrically and theoretically grounded measures of sexual orientation minority identity. We tested psychometric properties and construct validity of a 27-item measure, the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS). The sample consisted of 475 adult (178 male, 237 female, 16 male-to-female, 14 female-to-male, and 30 gender queer persons) members of a special interest group, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. Participants completed a health needs questionnaire. Prominent findings included (1) confirmatory factor-analytic, internal consistency, and inter-correlation patterns support two LGBIS factor structures; (2) men, compared primarily to women, reported elevated scores on Acceptance Concerns, Concealment Motivation, Difficulty Process, and Negative Identity; (3) queer-identifying persons tended to report low Concealment Motivation, and high Identity Affirmation and Identity Centrality scores; (4) experimenting/fluid-identifying individuals tended toward higher Identity Uncertainty and Negative Identity, and lower Identity Centrality scores; (5) LGB community involvement was negatively associated with Concealment Motivation, Identity Uncertainty, and Negative Identity, and positively associated with Identity Superiority, Identity Affirmation, and Identity Centrality scores; and (6) Acceptance Concerns, Identity Uncertainty, and Internalized Homonegativity displayed significant positive associations with such mental health symptoms as general anxiety and posttraumatic stress. The LGBIS represents a useful approach to evaluating sexual orientation minority identity. Implications for identity theory, research, and practice are provided.


Sexual orientation Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale Queer BDSM Mental health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animals Rights

The study was approved by a university Human Subjects Institution Review Board (IRB).

Informed Consent

All participants electing to participate clicked an electronic consent agreement after being provided information concerning participant rights, study description and contact information for the IRB and study team.

Supplementary material

10508_2017_1120_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


  1. Balsam, K. F., & Mohr, J. J. (2007). Adaptation to sexual orientation stigma: A comparison of bisexual and lesbian/gay adults. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 306–319. Scholar
  2. Balsam, K. F., Molina, Y., Blayney, J. A., Dillworth, T., Zimmerman, L., & Kaysen, D. (2015). Racial/ethnic differences in identity and mental health outcomes among young sexual minority women. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 380–390. Scholar
  3. Blashill, A. J., & Powlishta, K. K. (2009). Gay stereotypes: The use of sexual orientation as a cue for gender-related attributes. Sex Roles, 61, 783–793. Scholar
  4. Brewster, M. E., Moradi, B., DeBlaere, C., & Velez, B. L. (2013). Navigating the borderlands: The roles of minority stressors, bicultural self-efficacy, and cognitive flexibility in the mental health of bisexual individuals. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 543–556. Scholar
  5. Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4, 219–235.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cerezo, A. (2016). The impact of discrimination on mental health symptomatology in sexual minority immigrant Latinas. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3, 283–292. Scholar
  7. Conybeare, D., Behar, E., Soloman, A., Newman, M. G., & Borkovec, T. D. (2012). The PTSD Checklist—Civilian version: Reliability, validity, and factor structure in a nonclinical sample. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 699–713. Scholar
  8. Cramer, R. J., Golom, F. D., Burks, A. C., Stroud, C. H., & Graham, J. (2017). The Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale: Factor analytic evidence and associations with health and well-being. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 50, 71–88. Scholar
  9. de Oliveira, J. M., Lopes, D., Costa, C. G., & Nogueira, C. (2012). Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS): Construct validation, sensitivity analyses and other psychometric properties. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 15, 334–347.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Denton, F. N., Rostosky, S. S., & Danner, F. (2014). Stigma-related stressors, coping self-efficacy, and physical health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61, 383–391. Scholar
  11. DiStefano, C., & Hess, B. (2005). Using confirmatory factor analysis for construct validation: An empirical review. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 23, 225–241. Scholar
  12. Feinstein, B. A., Goldfried, M. R., & Davila, J. (2012). The relationship between experiences of discrimination and mental health among lesbians and gay men: An examination of internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity as potential mechanisms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80, 917–927. Scholar
  13. Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  14. Galinsky, A. D., Wang, C. S., Whitson, J. A., Anicich, E. M., Hugenburg, K., et al. (2013). The reappropriation of stigmatizing labels: The reciprocal relationship between power and self-labeling. Psychological Science, 24, 2020–2029. Scholar
  15. Galupo, M. P., & Bauerband, L. A. (2016). Sexual Orientation Reflection and Rumination Scale: Development and psychometric evaluation. Stigma and Health, 1, 44–58. Scholar
  16. Gemberling, T. M., Cramer, R. J., & Miller, R. S. (2015a). BDSM as a sexual orientation: A comparison of lesbian, gay, and bisexual sexuality. Journal of Positive Sexuality, 1, 37–43.Google Scholar
  17. Gemberling, T. M., Cramer, R. J., Miller, R. S., Stroud, C. H., Noland, R. M., & Graham, J. (2015b). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual identity as a moderator of relationship functioning after sexual assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 30, 3431–3452. Scholar
  18. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. R., & Cogan, J. C. (2009). Internalized stigma among sexual minority adults: Insights from a social psychological perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 32–43. Scholar
  19. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55. Scholar
  20. Jagose, A. (1996). Queer theory: An introduction. New York: NYU Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kemer, G., Demirtas, E. Z., Pope, A. L., & Ummak, E. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale-Turkish (LGBIS-TR). Journal of Homosexuality, 64, 1632–1649. Scholar
  22. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., & Martin, C. E. (1948). Sexual behavior in the human male. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  23. Kline, T. (2005). Psychological testing: A practical approach to design and evaluation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  24. Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  25. Levy, D. L. (2009). Gay and lesbian identity development: An overview for social workers. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 19, 978–993. Scholar
  26. Lien, D., & Balakrishnan, N. (2005). On regression analysis with data cleaning via trimming, winsorization, and dichotomization. Communications in Statistics—Simulation and Computation, 34, 839–849. Scholar
  27. Meade, A. W., Johnson, E. C., & Braddy, P. W. (2008). Power and sensitivity of alternate fit indices in tests of measurement invariance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 568–592. Scholar
  28. Meyer, I. H. (2013). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1, 3–26. Scholar
  29. Mohr, J. J., & Daly, C. A. (2008). Sexual minority stress and changes in relationship quality in same-sex couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25, 989–1007. Scholar
  30. Mohr, J. J., & Fassinger, R. (2000). Measuring dimensions of lesbian and gay male experience. Measurement & Evaluation in Counseling & Development, 33, 66–90.Google Scholar
  31. Mohr, J. J., & Kendra, M. S. (2011). Revision and extension of a multidimensional measure of sexual minority identity: The Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58, 234–245. Scholar
  32. National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. (n.d.). NCSF history. Retrieved from
  33. Osman, A., Bagge, C. L., Gutierrez, P. M., Konick, L. C., Kopper, B. A., & Barrios, F. X. (2001). The Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R): Validation with clinical and nonclinical samples. Assessment, 8, 443–454. Scholar
  34. Osman, A., Wong, J. L., Bagge, C. L., Freedenthal, S., Gutierrez, P. M., & Lozano, G. (2012). The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 (DASS-21): Further examination of dimensions, scale reliability, and correlates. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 68, 1322–1338. Scholar
  35. Preacher, K. J., & Merkle, E. C. (2012). The problem of model selection uncertainty in structural equation modeling. Psychological Methods, 17, 1–14. Scholar
  36. Richters, J., de Visser, R. O., Rissel, C. E., Grulich, A. E., & Smith, A. M. A. (2008). Demographic and psychosocial features of participants in bondage and discipline, “sadomasochism” or dominance and submission (BDSM): Data from a national survey. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 1660–1668. Scholar
  37. Ridolfo, H., Miller, K., & Maitland, A. (2012). Measuring sexual identity using survey questionnaires: How valid are our measures? Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 9, 113–124. Scholar
  38. Russell, S. T., Clarke, T. J., & Clary, J. (2009). Are teens “post-gay”? Contemporary adolescents’ sexual identity labels. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 884–890. Scholar
  39. Sarno, E., & Wright, A. J. (2013). Homonegative microaggressions and identity in bisexual men and women. Journal of Bisexuality, 13, 63–81. Scholar
  40. Tebbe, E. A., & Moradi, B. (2016). Suicide risk in trans populations: An application of minority stress theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63, 520–533. Scholar
  41. Troiden, R. R. (1989). The formation of homosexual identities. Journal of Homosexuality, 17, 43–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Wismeijer, A. A. J., & van Assen, M. A. L. M. (2013). Psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 1943–1952. Scholar
  43. Wolf, E. J., Harrington, K. M., Clark, S. L., & Miller, M. W. (2013). Sample size requirements for structural equation models: An evaluation of power, bias, and solution propriety. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 73, 913–934. Scholar
  44. Wright, S. (2006). Discrimination of SM-identified individuals. Journal of Homosexuality, 50, 217–231.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Wright, S. (2010). Depathologizing consensual sexual sadism, sexual masochism, transvestic fetishism, and fetishism [Letter to the Editor]. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1229–1230.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Yuan, K.-H., Bentler, P. M., & Zhang, W. (2005). The effect of skewness and kurtosis on mean and covariance structural analysis: The univariate case and its multivariate implications. Sociological Methods & Research, 34, 240–258. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Cramer
    • 1
    • 5
  • Frank D. Golom
    • 2
  • Tess M. Gemberling
    • 3
  • Kristen Trost
    • 1
  • Robin Lewis
    • 4
    • 5
  • Susan Wright
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Community and Environmental HealthOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLoyola University MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  5. 5.Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical PsychologyNorfolkUSA
  6. 6.National Coalition for Sexual FreedomBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations