Measures Used to Assess Sexual Orientation





Focus of Study (sample size)

National Black Lesbian Study (Cochran and Mays, 1988, 1994; Cochran et al., 1996)

Whether consider self gay or lesbian, bisexual, or neither, but homosexually active

Number of female sexual partners; whether have ever had heterosexual sexual intercourse, time since last previous heterosexual experience; whether currently heterosexually active "never," "rarely," "sometimes," or "regularly"


Health of African-American women in the United States who have sex with women (n = 605)

National Health and Social Life Survey (Laumann et al., 1994)

"Do you think of yourself as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or something else?"

During the past 12 months, past 5 years, and since turning age 18, what was sex of sexual partner(s); how many male and female partners; whether engaged in specific sexual acts: "Now I would like to ask you some questions about sexual experience with females after you were 12 or 13, that is, after puberty. How old were you the first time you had sex with a female?"

"On a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is very appealing and 4 is not at all appealing, how would you rate each of these activities: having sex with someone of the same sex?" "In general, are you sexually attracted to only men, mostly men, both men and women, mostly women, only women?"

Sexual behaviors and practices of Americans (n = 3,432 total men and women; n =1,749 women; n = 150 women reporting any same-gender sexuality)

National Lesbian Health Care Survey (Bradford and Ryan, 1988)

7-point scale: "Please circle the number on the line below that best describes how you think of yourself."1 = lesbian only; 4 = bisexual; 7 = heterosexual only

"Describe your past and present situations: in a tight committed primary relationship with a woman; single, but somewhat involved with a woman; single, not involved with anyone; living with a male lover; legally married to a man"; "How old were you when you first had sex with a woman?"


Health and mental health status and needs of U.S. lesbians (n = 1,925)

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