Sexual Orientation Complexity and Psychosocial/Health Outcomes
Journal of Homosexuality
Individuals whose sexual attraction or behavior varies from others’ expectations based on their sexual identity were initially described as exhibiting sexual orientation discordance. This conceptualization has been challenged as inaccurate and value-laden, and “branchedness” has been suggested as a value-neutral description. Using a United States national sample of 4,530 participants from the 2013–2014 Center for Collegiate Mental Health database, we challenge the empirical distinctness of the phenomenon of sexual orientation discordance by 1) replicating previous work that indicates that branched individuals evidence unique psychosocial and health outcomes relative to non-branched individuals and 2) using stepwise regression to demonstrate that these differences in outcomes can be accounted for by variation in sexual attraction, behavior, and identity and that “discordance” between indicators failed to explain additional variation in outcomes. We encourage researchers to adopt non-normative language and conceptualizations in their study of sexual orientation complexity and branchedness.
G. Tyler Lefevor, So Yeon Park, Maximo J. Acevedo & Payton J. Jones (2022) Sexual Orientation Complexity and Psychosocial/Health Outcomes, Journal of Homosexuality, 69:1, 190-204, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2020.1815432