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Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Feb;41(1):103-10. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9913-y.

Prevalence and stability of self-reported sexual orientation identity during young adulthood.

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Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-4401, USA.


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 wasmore 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 categorywas themost 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, themost common shiftwas toward mostly heterosexual. Reflecting changes in identity, the proportion of heterosexuals decreased between the two waves.

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