Sexual identity development measured from an identity status perspective


The purpose of this study was to explore the development of sexuality in relation to one's overall sense of identity. The most popular measures of identity development assess identity in a number of life's domains ( e.g., politics, religion, occupation, values, friendships, dating, gender roles, and recreation/leisure), but none of the measures include an assessment of identity development in the domain of sexuality. Measures of sexuality have typically been limited to measures of sexual orientation or surveys of sexual experiences. The purpose of this research was to explore identity formation and development within the domain of sexuality, but not limited to sexual orientation and sexual experience. Toward that endeavor, a measure was constructed based on Marcia's ( 1966) identity status paradigm and modeled after Balistreri, Busch-Rossnagel, & Geisinger' s (1995) Ego Identity Process Questionnaire (EIPQ). The development of this measure was an attempt to capture a more comprehensive summation of a person's sense of sexuality than has previously been measured, including the areas of sexual knowledge, experience, motivation, values, orientation, relationships, and desire. Participants were undergraduate students (N=121) from a medium size suburban college campus in the Southern U.S. All participants completed an anonymous survey including a demographic questionnaire, our sexual identity survey, the EIPQ, a measure of sexual adjustment, a measure of identity distress, and a psychological symptom measure. Our sexual identity survey had very good internal consistency with a reliability alpha coefficient of .895. Sexual identity was significantly correlated with ego identity and all the sexual adjustment variables. Sexual identity development variables predicted sexual adjustment over and above (and better than) ego identity development variables, even when controlling for psychological adjustment and identity distress, thus providing evidence of incremental validity for our sexual identity construct. These results are encouraging because they suggest that it is appropriate to consider sexuality as another identity domain.


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Thesis Completion





Berman, Steven L.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Ego identity; Identity; Identity status; Sexual identity







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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