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Some nonheterosexual individuals are eschewing lesbian/gay and bisexual identities for queer and pansexual identities. The present study aimed to examine the sexual and demographic characteristics of nonheterosexual individuals who adopt these labels. A convenience sample of 2,220 nonheterosexual (1,459 lesbian/gay, 413 bisexual, 168 queer, 146 pansexual, and 34 other “write-in”) individuals were recruited for a cross-sectional online survey. In support of our hypotheses, those adopting pansexual identities were younger than those adopting lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities, and those adopting queer and pansexual identities were more likely to be noncisgender than cisgender, and more likely to be cisgender women than men. The majority of pansexual individuals demonstrated sexual orientation indices within the bisexual range, and showed equivalent patterns of sexual attraction, romantic attraction, sexual behavior, and partner gender as bisexual-identified men and women. In contrast, three-quarters of queer men, and more than half of queer women, reported sexual attraction in the homosexual range. This study found that rather than a general movement toward nontraditional sexual identities, queer and pansexual identities appear most appealing to nonheterosexual women and noncisgender individuals. These findings contribute important information regarding who adopts queer and pansexual identities in contemporary sexual minority populations.
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The Journal of Sex Research
ISSN: 0022-4499 (Print) 1559-8519 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hjsr20
Who Adopts Queer and Pansexual Sexual
Identities?
James S. Morandini, Alexander Blaszczynski & Ilan Dar-Nimrod
To cite this article: James S. Morandini, Alexander Blaszczynski & Ilan Dar-Nimrod (2016):
Who Adopts Queer and Pansexual Sexual Identities?, The Journal of Sex Research, DOI:
10.1080/00224499.2016.1249332
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Who Adopts Queer and Pansexual Sexual Identities?
James S. Morandini, Alexander Blaszczynski , and Ilan Dar-Nimrod
School of Psychology, The University of Sydney
Some nonheterosexual individuals are eschewing lesbian/gay and bisexual identities for queer
and pansexual identities. The present study aimed to examine the sexual and demographic
characteristics of nonheterosexual individuals who adopt these labels. A convenience sample of
2,220 nonheterosexual (1,459 lesbian/gay, 413 bisexual, 168 queer, 146 pansexual, and 34 other
write-in) individuals were recruited for a cross-sectional online survey. In support of our
hypotheses, those adopting pansexual identities were younger than those adopting lesbian, gay,
and bisexual identities, and those adopting queer and pansexual identities were more likely to be
noncisgender than cisgender, and more likely to be cisgender women than men. The majority of
pansexual individuals demonstrated sexual orientation indices within the bisexual range, and
showed equivalent patterns of sexual attraction, romantic attraction, sexual behavior, and
partner gender as bisexual-identied men and women. In contrast, three-quarters of queer
men, and more than half of queer women, reported sexual attraction in the homosexual
range. This study found that rather than a general movement toward nontraditional sexual
identities, queer and pansexual identities appear most appealing to nonheterosexual women and
noncisgender individuals. These ndings contribute important information regarding who
adopts queer and pansexual identities in contemporary sexual minority populations.
Increasingly, nonheterosexual individuals are reporting sex-
ual identities other than lesbian, gay, bisexual, or straight
(Horner, 2007; Savin-Williams, 2009). While various non-
traditional sexual identities exist, two of the more frequently
adopted are queer and pansexual (Kuper, Nussbaum, &
Mustanski, 2012; Russell, Clarke, & Clary, 2009; Rust,
2000). These emerging ways of conceptualizing and label-
ing sexual identity are particularly visible in sexual minority
politics, with campus pride collectives and advocacy groups
adopting extended acronyms (such as LGBTIQQPA)
which are inclusive of queer (Q) and pansexual (P).
Moreover, recently, a number of high-prole gures have
embraced nontraditional sexual identities, including pop
celebrity Miley Cyrus, who revealed in a recent interview
Im pansexual(Sieczkowski, 2015), and Rep. Mary
Gonzalez, the rst openly pansexual elected U.S. ofcial
(Signorile, 2015). Perhaps unsurprisingly, nontraditional
sexual identities have generated considerable popular inter-
est, with an explosion of articles from mainstream media
outlets examining how queer and pansexual differ from
lesbian, gay, and bisexual.
Pansexual is often conceptualized as a label that denotes
sexual or romantic attraction to people regardless of their
gender expression (masculinity or femininity), gender iden-
tity, or biological sex (Rice, 2015). It is frequently distin-
guished from bisexual identity on the basis that it explicitly
rejects attractions based on binary notions of sex (male versus
female) and gender (man versus woman). Reecting a differ-
ent evolution, queer was historically a pejorative term for
homosexual and gender-nonconforming (i.e., effeminate)
men (Chauncey, 1994; Levy & Johnson, 2011). Most
recently, it has been reclaimed by LGBT scholars and acti-
vists, and now often serves as an umbrella term for diverse
nonheterosexual identities (Callis, 2013; Levy & Johnson,
2011). As a distinct sexual identity, queer identity may be
favored because it dees normative categories of homosexual
versus bisexual versus heterosexual, which may be perceived
as narrow, limiting, or oppressive (Horner, 2007). For
instance, those who have experienced shifts in facets of
their sexual orientation over time (i.e., sexual uidity) may
nd that a queer label is best able to capture their particular
type of sexuality. A queer sexual identity may also be pre-
ferred because it is inclusive of attractions that transcend
binary conceptualizations of gender.
Some sexuality scholars and social commentators have
argued that the emergence of these nontraditional identities
signal a postgayera, in which younger nonheterosexuals
are increasingly rejecting rigid categories of lesbian/gay
versus bisexual versus straight (Savin-Williams, 2005).
However, at present, empirical data with which to evaluate
these claims are scarce. An alternative possibility is that
Correspondence should be addressed to James S. Morandini, Brennan
MacCallum Building, A18, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006,
Australia. E-mail: jmor7223@uni.sydney.edu.au
THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH,00(00), 112, 2016
Copyright © The Society for the Scientic Study of Sexuality
ISSN: 0022-4499 print/1559-8519 online
DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1249332
rather than a universal movement toward nontraditional
labels, this shift is occurring predominantly in particular
subgroups of nonheterosexuals. The present study aimed
to examine the sexual orientation and demographic charac-
teristics of nonheterosexual individuals who adopt queer
and pansexual identities, allowing for further evaluation of
the latter possibility.
What Do We Know About Queer and Pansexual
Populations?
There are limited data on the prevalence of queer and
pansexual identities; indeed, until recently, few surveys
included Queer or Pansexual response options when asses-
sing sexual identity. A brief review of relevant studies found
that the proportion of nonheterosexuals that adopted the
label queer differed considerably from sample to sample.
In mixed-gender samples of predominantly cisgender indi-
viduals, queer identication appears relatively low. In a
convenience sample of nonheterosexual Californian second-
ary school students, Russell et al. (2009) found that only
5.2% identied as queer, while a large national convenience
sample of nonheterosexual Australian adults (average age
37.7 years) put this gure at 7.1% (Leonard et al., 2012).
Two North American college samples of predominantly
cisgender nonheterosexuals registered a higher proportion
of queer identication, with Gray and Desmarais (2014)
nding 16% of men and women (average age 21 years)
and Friedman and Leaper (2010)nding 25% of nonheter-
osexual women (average age 20 years) identifying as queer.
A smaller number of studies have assessed queer and pan-
sexual identities concurrently. In a recent community sam-
ple of 285 nonheterosexuals (average age 26.5 years) from
across the United States, Galupo, Davis, Grynkiewicz, and
Mitchell (2014) reported that 16.8% identied as pansexual
and 19.6% as queer. Similar proportions of pansexual
(15.6%) and queer (15.6%) participants were found in a
subsequent survey of 448 U.S. residing nonheterosexuals
(average age 26.4 years) by the same research group
(Galupo, Mitchell, & Davis, 2015). It should be noted that
both studies included a relatively high proportion of non-
cisgender participants (30% and 25%, respectively), perhaps
explaining the high prevalence of queer and pansexual
identication observed in these community samples.
Queer and pansexual labels may be preferred by those who
are noncisgender (i.e., those whose gender identity does not
align with their sex assigned at birth, or whose gender identity
does not conform to normative categories of man versus
woman) given that they are gender-neutral terms which do
not require individuals to dene their own gender in relation to
their object choice, or categorize their attractions based on
binary notions of gender. Two recent studies were identied
that assessed nontraditional sexual identity labels specically
among noncisgender samples. In a convenience sample of
primarily North American individuals (average age 28 years)
who self-identied as transgender or as gender nonconforming,
Kuper et al. (2012) found that queer and pansexual identities
were the most frequently endorsed sexual identity labels,
accounting for 17.1% and 20.6% of participants, respectively.
These proportions, however, are similar to those observed
among cisgender college-aged samples, and mixed cisgender
versus noncisgender community samples as described pre-
viously (e.g., Galupo et al., 2015). More striking evidence of
a relationship between nontraditional sexual identities and
noncisgender identities comes from Katz-Wise, Reisner,
Hughto, and Keo-Meier (2015), who reported that over 43%
of a community sample of transgender or gender-nonconform-
ing adults residing in Massachusetts (average age 32 years)
identied as queer and 19% as another nontraditional sexual
identity. Given the disagreement in these rates of adoption,
further research is required to conrm the strength of the links
between queer and pansexual identities and noncisgender
status.
At present, no published studies provide a breakdown of
queer and pansexual identities by sex or gender identity
which would allow us to assess the uniformity of the adop-
tion of these labels based on important facets such as sex
and cisgender versus noncisgender status.
What are the Sexual Orientations of Those Who Identify
as Queer or Pansexual?
One basic yet unanswered question relates to the sexual
orientation of nonheterosexuals who gravitate toward pansexual
or queer labels. That is, are these individuals predominantly
monosexual (i.e., attracted to one gender) or nonmonosexual
(i.e., attracted to more than one gender), or do substantial
proportions of both monosexual and nonmonosexual indivi-
duals adopt these labels? To address this question, we rst
need to distinguish what is meant by sexual identity versus
sexual orientation. Sexual identity refers to a label adopted by
an individual to communicate the most salient aspect of his or
her sexuality (Savin-Williams, 2011). Traditionally this relates
to sexual orientation and conforms to the social categories of
lesbian/gay, bisexual, or straight. As discussed, there is evidence
that individuals are increasingly adopting sexual identities
which not only reference sexual orientations but also encompass
other aspects of their sexuality, including attraction to personal
characteristics regardless of gender (e.g., sapiosexual), sexual
attraction only in the context of a romantic bond (e.g., demisex-
ual or graysexual), preference for particular sexual activities or
relationship types (e.g., kink or polyamorist) (Savin-Williams,
2011), as well as queer and pansexual (as dened previously).
Sexual orientation typically refers to an individuals ten-
dency to experience sexual attraction, arousal, desire, and
fantasy toward men, women, or both, to varying degrees
(Bailey, 2009). There is a general consensus that male sex-
ual orientation is relatively stable across the life course
1
and
that it is category specic; typically, men experience sexual
desire toward either women or men, with bisexual sexual
desires comparatively rare (Bailey, 2009; Chivers, Rieger,
Latty, & Bailey, 2004; Rieger, Chivers, & Bailey, 2005;
MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
2
Rosenthal, Sylva, Safron, & Bailey, 2012). In contrast,
female sexual orientation appears more uid, meaning that
the target of womens sexual desires or romantic infatua-
tions may change over time (Diamond, 2008b). Moreover,
women tend to report less exclusivity in facets of their
sexual orientation; for instance, compared with men,
women are more likely to report bisexual sexual desires
than they are to report exclusive same-sex desires
(Kanazawa, 2016).
It is typically thought that sexual orientation determines
not only the gender we sexually desire but also the gender
with whom we fall in love. Evidence suggests, however,
that while sexual and romantic attractions align for most
people, they may function somewhat independently for
others (Savin-Williams, 2014). These experiences t with
emerging theoretical perspectives on the distinction between
sexual desire and love, which propose that while sexual
desire is inherently oriented to a particular sex, romantic
love is not (Diamond, 2003). In fact, there is evidence that
some sexual minority individuals distinguish between their
sexual versus romantic orientations, even integrating these
distinctions into their sexual identities, with distinct labels
for sexual versus romantic dispositions (e.g., homosexual
panromantic) (Galupo et al., 2014; Galupo et al., 2015).
Accordingly, recent studies emphasize the importance of
measuring sexual and romantic attraction when assessing
sexual orientation in contemporary samples of nonhetero-
sexuals, given that both sexual and romantic attractions may
inuence how individuals conceptualize their sexual
identity.
Distinct from these constructs is sexual behavior pattern,
which relates to with whom (e.g., same sex, other sex, or
both) one has sex. In addition to ones sexual orientation
(who one sexually desires), sexual behavior pattern may be
inuenced by factors such as availability of potential part-
ners and the presence of negative societal attitudes (and
even legal prohibitions) toward same-sex sexuality. Indeed,
in some instances, bisexual or lesbian/gay individuals may
forgo same-sex relationships and/or sexual encounters to
avoid stigma.
Keeping these distinctions in mind, what types of non-
heterosexual individuals adopt queer or pansexual sexual
identities? It stands to reason that queer and pansexual
labels are most frequently adopted by those who experi-
ence sexual attraction to more than one gender (i.e. non-
monosexuals) (Galupo et al., 2015;Horner,2007). In this
case, queer and pansexual populations would be similar in
sexual/romantic attraction and sexual behavior to those
who are bisexual identied, with their differences having
more to do with their sexual politics than their sexual
orientation per se. Moreover, some nonmonosexual indi-
viduals may adopt queer and pansexual labels to avoid
stigma associated with a bisexual identity (Callis, 2013).
However, if queer and pansexual labels reect elements
beyond just a renaming of the stigmatized label bisexual,
an investigation of the distinguishing characteristics of the
individuals who adopt these labels is warranted. For instance, it
is plausible, that some queer-identied individuals are homo-
sexual (sexual orientation) and publicly identify as queer for
political reasons, such as a commitment to progressive notions
of gender and sexuality. A further question is whether the
likelihood of adopting queer and pansexual identities differs
by sex and gender identity. As bisexual attraction is more
common than exclusive same-sex attraction in women (and
given that the reverse is true for men), queer and pansexual
identities are therefore expected to be more prevalent in women
than men. In addition, as conceptualizing and labeling ones
sexual identity may be more complex for noncisgender indivi-
duals (e.g., traditional sexual identities may come with
unwanted assumptions about ones gender), noncisgender indi-
viduals may also be more likely to adopt queer and pansexual
identities than cisgender individuals, as suggested by previous
research (Katz-Wise et al., 2015). Empirical data are therefore
required to shed light on the sexual orientations and gender
identities of those who adopt queer and pansexual identities in
contemporary sexual minority populations.
The Present Study
The present study, conducted among an almost exclu-
sively Australian-residing sample, aimed to compare queer
and pansexual populations to each other, and also to les-
bian, gay, and bisexual populations, to explore (a) what
demographics predict the adoption of queer and pansexual
sexual identities and (b) what are the sexual attractions,
romantic attractions, and sexual behavior patterns of non-
heterosexuals who self-label as queer and pansexual. The
following hypotheses were advanced regarding demo-
graphic predictors:
H1: Consistent with some previous research (e.g., Katz-Wise
et al., 2015), those identifying as noncisgender would be
more likely to endorse nontraditional sexual identities (i.e.,
queer and pansexual) than those who are cisgender.
H2: As bisexual attractions are more common in women than
men (Bailey, 2009;Baumeister,2000;Diamond,2008a),
we expected that those cisgender individuals identifying
as queer or pansexual will be predominantly women.
H3: Given that queer and pansexual are more recently emerging
sexual identity labels (Belous & Bauman, 2016; Callis,
2014; Savin-Williams, 2005), they will be disproportio-
nately adopted by those in younger compared to older
cohorts.
Regarding psychosocial facets, an additional hypothesis
was set forth:
H4: Given that queer and pansexual can be conceptualized as
nonmonosexual identities (Mitchell, Davis, & Galupo,
2014) those adopting these labels will be more likely to
report sexual orientation indices in the bisexual range
WHO ADOPTS QUEER AND PANSEXUAL SEXUAL IDENTITIES?
3
than either the heterosexual or homosexual range, and
will demonstrate similar patterns of (a) sexual, (b) roman-
tic attraction, (c) sexual behavior, and (d) partner gender
as bisexual-identied individuals.
Method
Participants
Participants were drawn from a larger online survey inves-
tigating sexual orientation beliefs and minority stress among
sexual minority Australians. To be eligible for participation,
respondents were required to identify as nonheterosexual
(or having experienced nonheterosexual attractions), and be
18 years or older. From 2,445 who accessed the survey,
2,220 attempted all demographic questions of interest (includ-
ing gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation indicators). Of
these, n= 129 (5.8%) identied as noncisgender, with the
majority of these individuals endorsing the label genderqueer
or genderuid (see Table 1). A total of 34 (1.5%) participants
wrote in a sexual identity other than queer, pansexual, bisexual
or lesbian/gay, including Othernot specied (n=13),
Demisexual (n=6),Biromantic asexual (n=5),Bicurious/
questioning/unsure (n=7),andUnlabeled (n=3).
Participants ranged in age from 18 to 77 years
(M= 29.30, SD = 11.01). There were broadly equal propor-
tions of cisgender men (47.6%) and women (46.6%). The
most frequently endorsed sexual identity was lesbian or gay
(65.7%), followed by bisexual (18.6%), queer (7.6%) and
pansexual (6.6%) (see Table 2). In all, 85% of respondents
identied as Caucasian (White), 5.7% East or Southeast
Asian, 1% Middle Eastern, 1% Aboriginal/Torres Strait
Islander, 0.9% South Asian, and 6% mixed ethnicity. Most
participants were nonreligious (77.1%), with a minority of
Christian (15%), Buddhist (3%), Jewish (0.6%), and
Muslim (0.5%) religions represented. The vast majority of
participants resided in Australia (95.3%), with 47.2% living
in an inner metropolitan area, 36.3% in an outer metropoli-
tan area, and 16.4% in a regional or rural area. Around 45%
reported their highest level of education as high school, 36%
as an undergraduate degree, and 19% as a postgraduate
degree. The relationship statuses reported in the sample
were single (51.4%), monogamously coupled (39.1%), and
open/polyamorous relationship (8.8%). Of those cisgender
participants currently in a relationship (n= 1,319), 79.6%
reported a same-sex partner, 15.4% an opposite-sex partner,
4.0% current same-sex and opposite-sex partners, and 1% a
noncisgender partner.
Procedure
The survey could be accessed via a website from
February 2013 to September 2015. We employed targeted
and snowball sampling in recruiting our sample. There was
no incentive for participation. Participants accessed the sur-
vey via an advertisement (with an embedded link to the
survey website) posted in a number of LGB-themed
Facebook groups, including Marriage Equality Australia,
Pansexual Pride,and AIDS Council of NSW,and
reposted on Facebook and Twitter by several local LGB
organizations. E-mail invitations were also sent to mailing
lists of LGB organizations and 20 university pride collec-
tives across Australia. A paid advertisement was placed on a
popular national LGB news website. The University of
Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee approved the
study.
Table 1. Percentages of Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Pansexual, and Write-In Sexual Identities Within Noncisgender Subgroups
Noncisgender Group
Gay/Lesbian Bisexual Queer Pansexual Other Write-In
%N%N%N%N%N
Women (MTF) 50 (9) 11.1 (2) 16.7 (3) 22.2 (4) 0 (0)
Men (FTM) 26.7 (4) 13.3 (2) 26.7 (4) 26.7 (4) 6.7 (1)
Nonbinary 15.9 (13)
a,c
4.9 (4)
a
45.1 (37)
b
26.8 (22)
b,c
7.3 (6)
a
Other write-in 21.4 (3) 7.1 (1) 21.4 (3) 21.4 (3) 28.7 (4)
Note. The nonbinary group was composed of individuals who selected a genderqueeror genderuidgender identity. The other write-in group comprised
agender(n= 5), neither(n= 2), demi-girl(n= 3), and not sure/questioning(n= 4). Chi-square tests were undertaken on each noncisgender subgroup
to examine whether column proportions differed for that row. The chi-square test was signicant for the nonbinary group (χ
2
[4] = 44.46, p< .001), but not for
women (MTF), men (FTM) or the other (write-in) groups, p> .05. Follow-up multiple comparisons with Bonferroni corrections were undertaken to identify
which sexual identities were most frequently endorsed by nonbinary participants. Sexual identity labels in a row that share the same letters do not differ
signicantly at p< .05.
Table 2. Percentage of Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Pansexual,
and Write-In Sexual Identities
Men
(n= 1,056)
Women
(n= 1,036)
Noncisgender
(n= 129)
Sexual Identity % N%N%N
Gay/lesbian 85.8 (904)
a
50.9 (527)
b
22.5 (29)
c
Bisexual 9.7 (102)
a
29.2 (302)
b
7.0 (9)
a
Queer 2.7 (29)
a
8.9 (92)
b
36.4 (47)
c
Pansexual 1.7 (18)
a
9.2 (95)
b
25.6 (33)
c
Other write-in 0.3 (3)
1.9 (20)
a
8.5 (11)
b
Gender × Sexual identity χ
2
(8) = 601.07, p< .05
Note. Sexual identity labels in a row that share the same letters do not differ
signicantly at p< .05. Bonferroni corrections for multiple comparisons
were undertaken when comparing column proportions in each row.
No comparisons undertaken as cell size < 5.
MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
4
Respondents followed the URL address to a participant
information statement and consent form. Those who were
eligible for participation then completed a 30-minute ques-
tionnaire assessing demographics, sexual orientation indica-
tors and beliefs, minority stress, and well-being (results
relevant to these other outcomes are reported elsewhere;
Morandini, Blaszczynski, Dar-Nimrod, and Ross, 2015;
and Morandini, Blaszczynski, Ross, Costa, and Dar-
Nimrod, 2015).
Measures
Demographics assessed age, religion/religiosity, ethni-
city, education, and income. To assess sexual identity,
we asked What identity label do you use to describe
your sexual orientation?,with options including Gay/
lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Pansexual,
2
and Other (write
in) (in which participants were asked to specify their
sexual identity). To assess gender we asked participants,
What best describes your gender identity?Options for
response were Man, Woman,andOther (write in).
Participants were also asked Are you transgender?If
yes, they were asked What best describes your
present gender identity?Options for response were
Man (FTM), Woman (MTF), Genderqueer/uid,or
Other (write in). Relationship status was assessed as
Single, Single with casual partners, Monogamously
coupled, In an open/polyamorous relationship,and
Other (write in). Those endorsing having casual partners
or being in a relationship were additionally asked
whether their partner was Same sex, Other sex,whether
they were seeing Both same- and other-sex partners or
Other (write in).
Sexual Orientation. Three sexual orientation
indicators were adapted from the Klein grid (Klein,
Sepekoff, & Wolf, 1985). Participants were instructed to
respond to these items with reference to their present
sexuality (To whom are you sexually attracted?;To
whom are you emotionally or romantically attracted?;
With whom have you had sex?). Responses to all three
items were rated on a 7-point continuum: Exclusively
opposite sex (1), Opposite sex mostly (2), Opposite sex
somewhat more (3), Equally divided between same and
opposite sex (4), Same sex somewhat more (5), Same sex
mostly (6), and Exclusively same sex (7).
Sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual beha-
vior were then coded into three range categories: 12=
heterosexual range; 35 = bisexual range; and 67=
homosexual range, as done in previous studies (Pillard &
Wei n r i ch, 1986; Rieger, Savin-Williams, Chivers, &
Bailey, 2016; Rosenthal et al., 2012). This coding was
undertaken to allow us to quantitatively compare the pro-
portion of queer, pansexual, bisexual, gay, and lesbian
participants who fell within the heterosexual, bisexual,
and homosexual range on the three measured sexual orien-
tation indices.
Data Analytic Plan
We undertook missing data analysis on all attempted mea-
sures (due to skipped or misseditems) and found < 1% missing
data for any particular item. To estimate missing data we
employed estimation maximization (EM) in SPSS, Version
21, as recommended by Schlomer, Bauman, and Card (2010).
Differences between gender (male versus female) and sex-
ual identity (lesbian/gay, bisexual, queer and pansexual) were
compared for relevant measures using either parametric tests
(analysis of variance [ANOVA]) or nonparametric tests (chi-
square tests, binomial tests, and planned cell comparisons) in
SPSS, Version 21. Specically, two-way (gender × sexual
identity) ANOVAs were used to examine group differences
in education level, income, and age (see hypothesis 3) with
Bonferroni corrections applied for multiple comparisons.
When testing hypotheses 1 and 2 (i.e., the proportion of men,
women, and noncisgender individuals adopting lesbian, gay,
bisexual, queer, pansexual, and other labels) and hypothesis 4
(d) (i.e., the proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and
pansexual individuals with same-sex, opposite-sex, same- and
opposite-sex, and noncisgender partners), chi-square tests
were used. When signicant, we examined which column
proportions differed signicantly in each row of the chi-square
contingency table using the ztest with the Bonferroni
p-adjusted option in SPSS.
We undertook a series of binomial tests to determine
whether queer and pansexual men and women were more
likely to report sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and
sexual behavior in the bisexual range than either the hetero-
sexual or homosexual range, per hypotheses 4(a), 4(b), and
4(c). Bonferroni-type adjustments were made to correct α
for multiple comparisons (as six comparisons were made for
each group, αwas set at .05/6 = .008 for this analysis).
Finally, we conducted planned comparisons (as outlined
by Sharpe, 2015) to examine whether the proportion of queer
and pansexual men and women reporting sexual orientation
indices in the bisexual range were equivalent to the propor-
tion of bisexual-identied men and women reporting sexual
orientation indices in the bisexual range, per hypotheses 4(a),
4(b), and 4(c). This involved calculating a ztest [z=(Ψ0)/
SE
Ψ
], where Ψwas the contrast of interest and SE
Ψ
was the
standard error of the contrast. To illustrate, to compare the
proportion of queer men (QM) versus bisexual men (BM)
reporting sexual attraction in the bisexual range, the follow-
ing contrast would be undertaken: Ψ
QM vs. BM
=p
QM
p
BM
(with p
QM
being the proportion of queer men in the bisexual
range relative to the column marginal, and p
BM
being the
proportion of bisexual men in the bisexual range relative to its
column marginal). The resulting contrast value was then
divided by SE
Ψ
, generating a zvalue that was compared
against the square root of the chi-square critical value for
the entire contingency table at the 0.05 level. In this case, the
zvalue was compared against the square root of the chi-
square critical value for 6 degrees of freedom, or ±3.54.
Determining the chi-square critical value from the entire
contingency table is a conservative approach to adjusting α
WHO ADOPTS QUEER AND PANSEXUAL SEXUAL IDENTITIES?
5
when undertaking contrasts based on cell proportions within
a contingency table (Sharpe, 2015).
Given the heterogeneity of our noncisgender participants,
and the very small number of participants who selected an Other
(write in) sexual identity (i.e., a sexual identity other than
lesbian/gay, bisexual, queer, and pansexual), meaningful
group-based comparisons for these groups of participants were
not possible. As such, noncisgender participants and partici-
pants who selected an Other (write in) sexual identity were
excluded from analyses when examining hypotheses 4(a)
through 4(d).
Results
Demographics
Prior to our formal analyses, we examined whether queer
and pansexual individuals differed from lesbian/gay, bisexual,
and other (write in) participants with regard to ethnicity, reli-
gion, education, and income. Chi-square tests were undertaken
examining participant ethnicity and religion across sexual iden-
tity group (lesbian/gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, other/write
in) separated by gender. No differences in ethnicity were
observed across sexual identity groups in men, women, or
noncisgender participants (ps > .05). With regard to religion,
the chi-square test was signicant in women, χ
2
(32) = 56.761,
p= .005, but not in men or noncisgender participants (ps > .05).
Bonferroni-corrected bivariate comparisons revealed that queer
womenweremorelikelytoreportno religionthan were
lesbian, bisexual, or pansexual women, but were no more likely
to indicate no religionthan those reporting other/write in
identities. Two-way (gender × sexual identity) ANOVAs were
run to examine group differences in education and income
level, and where signicant, follow-up analyses were done. A
main effect of sexual identity was observed for education level,
F(4, 2205) = 12.01, p< .001, with follow-up analyses reveal-
ing that pansexual individuals demonstrated lower educational
attainment than those identifying with all other groups (ps<
.05). Reecting a similar pattern, a main effect of sexual identity
was evident for income, F(4, 2205) = 82.78, p< .001, with
follow-up analyses indicating that lesbian and gay participants
reported the highest incomes, followed by bisexual and queer
participants, and pansexual and other/write in groups the lowest
(ps < .05).
Queer and Pansexual Identities in Cisgender versus
Noncisgender Participants
Our rst hypothesis was that queer and pansexual identities
would be more common among those who were noncisgender
than among those who were cisgender. A signicant overall
gender difference in sexual identity labeling was found, χ
2
(8) = 601.07, p< .001 (see Table 2). In line with hypothesis 1,
Bonferroni-corrected bivariate comparisons revealed that non-
cisgender participants were more likely to report a queer (ps<
.05) or pansexual (ps < .05) identity, or to write in an alternate
sexual identity (ps < .05), than were cisgender men or women.
As Tab le 2 indicates, among noncisgender individuals, queer
identity was the most frequently endorsed sexual identity, fol-
lowed by pansexual, lesbian/gay, bisexual, and other/write in.
However, as can be seen in Tabl e 1, it was only among a
subgroup of noncisgender participantsthose who reported a
nonbinary gender identity (genderqueeror genderuid)
that queer and pansexual sexual identity labels predominated.
Within this group Bonferroni-corrected bivariate comparisons
revealed that queer identity was more common than all other
sexual identities (45.1%) except pansexual identity (26.8%), and
pansexual identity was more common than all remaining sexual
identities with the exception of gay or lesbian (15.9%) (ps<.05).
Queer and Pansexual Identities in Cisgender Men versus
Women
Our second hypothesis was that more women than men
would adopt queer and pansexual sexual identities. In line
with this hypothesis, Bonferroni-corrected bivariate compar-
isons revealed that women were more likely than men to
endorse a pansexual or queer sexual identity (ps < .05)
Queer and Pansexual Identities and Age
To test our third hypothesis, that those who were younger
would be more likely to adopt a queer or pansexual identity, a
two-way ANOVA (gender × sexual identity) was undertaken
on age. A main effect of sexual identity, F(4, 2201) = 5.53,
p< .001, was observed, with follow-up analyses revealing
lesbian and gay individuals were older than bisexual, queer,
and pansexual individuals (ps < .001), and that in turn bisex-
ual individuals were older than pansexual-identied indivi-
duals (ps < .05). No differences in age were observed among
bisexual and queer individuals (p= .81) or between queer and
pansexual individuals (p= .12). This pattern of results pro-
vides partial support for our hypothesis.
Sexual Attraction, Romantic Attraction, and Sexual
Behavior
Hypotheses 4(a) through 4(c) were that queer and pansexual
participants would most commonly report sexual attraction,
romantic attraction, and sexual behavior in the bisexual range
and would be indistinguishable from bisexual-identied indivi-
duals on these three indices. As can be seen in Tab le 3, in line
with our hypothesis, binomial tests indicated that pansexual
men and women were more likely to report sexual attraction
and romantic attraction in the bisexual range than in either the
heterosexual or homosexual ranges (ps < .001). In relation to
sexual behavior patterns, pansexual women were more likely to
report patterns of sexual behavior in the bisexual range than the
homosexual range (p=.001), although this difference did not
reach signicance in men (p=.02). Pansexual men and women
were no more likely to report sexual behavior in the bisexual
range than the heterosexual range (p=.21andp= .09,
respectively).
MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
6
Planned cell comparisons found that there were no dif-
ferences in the proportion of pansexual versus bisexual men
and women rating their sexual attraction (men: z= 2.08,
p> .05; women: z= 1.83, p> .05) and sexual behavior
(men: z= 0.88, p> .05; women: z= 1.31, p> .05) in the
bisexual range. Likewise, an equivalent proportion of pan-
sexual men reported their romantic attractions in the bisex-
ual range as bisexual men (z= 3.28, p> .05), although
pansexual women were actually more likely to report
romantic attractions in the bisexual range than bisexual
women (z= 3.81, p< .05).
In contrast, queer-identied men and women most fre-
quently rated their sexual/romantic attraction and sexual
behavior in the homosexual range. At odds with our hypoth-
eses, binomial tests found that queer men were more likely
to report patterns of sexual attraction (p= .006) and beha-
vior (p= .003) in the homosexual range than in the bisexual
range, although no difference was observed for romantic
attraction (p= .23). Among queer women, there was no
difference between the proportion rating their sexual and
romantic attraction in the bisexual versus homosexual range
(p= .39 and p= .28, respectively); however, contrary to
predictions (but similar to queer men), queer women were
most likely to report sexual behavior in the homosexual
range (p= .01), although this trend did not reach
signicance.
Planned comparisons also found that queer individuals
were less likely to report sexual attraction (men: z= 5.95,
p> .05; women: z= 6.88, p> .05) in the bisexual range than
were bisexual-identied individuals, and that queer women
(but not queer men) were less likely to report romantic
attraction in the bisexual range than bisexual women
(men: z= 2.91, p> .05; women: z= 3.94, p< .05). In
addition, although queer men were less likely to report
sexual behavior in the bisexual range than bisexual men
(z= 4.47, p< .05), this difference in queer versus bisexual
women did not reach signicance (z= 3.40, p> .05).
Finally, pansexual men and women were more likely to
report sexual attraction (men: z= 6.46, p< .05; women:
z= 7.73, p< .05), romantic attraction (men: z=5.10,
p< .05; women: z= 5.89, p< .05) and sexual behavior
(men: z= 3.59, p< .05; women: z= 3.82, p< .05) in the
bisexual range than were queer men and women.
Given that individuals who identify with nontraditional
identities may conceivably fall at any point on the sexual
orientation continuum, coding sexual orientation indices into
heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual ranges may mask
important patterns of attraction. As such, in addition to the
reported analyses, we report the frequency with which those
of each sexual identity group endorsed each point on the sexual
orientation continuum (see Table 4 ). With regard to sexual
attraction, men and women identifying as gay or lesbian were
most likely to indicate exclusive same-sex attraction, while
bisexual individuals were most likely to report their attractions
as equally divided between same and opposite sex. In support
of hypothesis 4, pansexual individuals responded similarly to
bisexual individuals, most commonly endorsing equal same-
and opposite-sex attraction. Among queer-identied men and
women, however, Mostly same sex was the most frequently
endorsed point on the sexual continuum. The same pattern of
attractions held for romantic attraction, although among queer
men, Mostly and Exclusively attracted to same-sex partners
were endorsed in equal proportions.
Sexual behavior demonstrated a similar pattern to other
sexual orientation indicators. The majority of lesbian/gay
men and women reported Exclusively same-sex behavior,
while the most frequent response among bisexual men and
women was Equally divided among same and opposite sex.
Contrary to hypothesis 4, among queer-identied men and
women the most frequent response was similar to lesbian/
gay individuals (i.e., Exclusively same sex). Finally, among
pansexual men, Opposite sex somewhat more was the most
frequent response, while pansexual women were most likely
to report their sexual behavior as being Equally divided
between same- and opposite-sex partners.
Sexual/Romantic Relationships
Current partner gender was found to differ by sexual
identity, χ
2
(9) = 753.78, p< .001. As Tab le 5 shows, queer
individuals were more likely than bisexual and pansexual
individuals (ps < .05), but less likely than lesbian and gay
individuals (p< .05), to have a same-sex partner. Likewise,
queer individuals were more likely than lesbian/gay indi-
viduals (p< .05), but less likely than bisexual and pansex-
ual individuals (ps < .05), to have an opposite-sex partner.
Table 3. Proportion of Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and
Pansexual Participants Reporting Sexual Orientation Indices in
the Heterosexual, Bisexual, or Homosexual Range
Heterosexual
(12)
Bisexual
(35)
Homosexual
(67)
Men
(%)
Women
(%)
Men
(%)
Women
(%)
Men
(%)
Women
(%)
Sexual attraction
Gay/lesbian .4 3.6 2.3 8.9 97.2 83.9
Bisexual 6.9 6.3 70.6 81.4 22.5 12.6
Queer 6.9 5.4 20.7
*
*
42.4
*
*
72.4 52.2
Pansexual 11.1 3.2 88.9 88.4 0 1.4
Romantic attraction
Gay/lesbian .7 4 7.4 9.4 91.9 78.7
Bisexual 22.8 12.6 60.4 64.2 16.8 23.2
Queer 13.8 5.4 31
*
*
41.3
*
**
55.2 53.3
Pansexual 11.1 5.3 88.9 80 0.0 14.7
Sexual behavior
Gay/lesbian 0.6 1.9 2.2 6.1 97.2 92
Bisexual 23.5 36.8 50 47 26.5 16.2
Queer 20.7 19.6 13.8
*
*
28.3
*
65.5 52.2
Pansexual 27.8 36.8 61.1 54.7 11.1 8.4
Note. Bolded gures represent the most frequent pattern of sexual/romantic
attraction or behavior in pansexual and queer men and women as estab-
lished by binomial tests at p< .05 (with Bonferroni-type corrections for
multiple comparisons).
*p< .05.
WHO ADOPTS QUEER AND PANSEXUAL SEXUAL IDENTITIES?
7
Bisexual, queer, and pansexual individuals were all more
likely than gay and lesbian individuals to have concurrent
male and female partners (ps < .05). Finally, queer and
pansexual individuals reported a higher proportion of
transgender/noncisgender partners than lesbian/gay or
bisexual individuals; however, formal analyses of these
differences were not possible due to insufcient cell size.
Discussion
The present study sought to identify who adopts the emer-
ging sexual identity labels of queer and pansexual. To our
knowledge, ours is the rst quantitative study to examine the
sexual orientation indices, gender, and demographics of non-
heterosexual individuals embracing pansexual or queer identi-
ties. In line with the notion that pansexuality is a more recently
emerging sexual identity label (Belous & Bauman, 2016;Callis,
2014; Savin-Williams, 2005), pansexual men and women in our
sample were on average younger than those adopting lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and queer identities. Queer labels, on the other
hand, were no more common among younger age cohorts. It is
possible that the apparent increase in queer identication
observed in contemporary sexual minority samples may be an
artifact of shifts in measurement (i.e., studies are increasingly
providing a Queer response option). Also as predicted, queer
and pansexual labels were more frequently adopted by cisgen-
der women than by cisgender men. In fact, in our sample, only
4.4% of men identied as queer or pansexual compared with
18.1% of women. Given that our study found that pansexual
and, to a lesser extent, queer labels reect nonmonosexual
patterns of attraction, as these attractions are more commonly
reported in women than men, it makes sense that queer and
pansexual labels would hold greater appeal for women. Exactly
why nonmonosexual attractions and identities are more
Table 4. Frequency of Sexual Orientation Indicators for Each Point on the Sexual Orientation Continuum for Lesbian/Gay, Bisexual,
Queer, and Pansexual Men and Women
Label
Exclusively
Opposite Sex
(%)
Mostly
Opposite Sex
(%)
Opposite Sex
Somewhat More
(%)
Equally Divided
Between Same
and Opposite Sex
(%)
Same Sex
Somewhat More
(%)
Mostly
Same
Sex (%)
Exclusively
Same
Sex (%)
Men
Gay/lesbian (N=904)
Sexual attraction 0 .1 .1 .7 1.5 24.1 73.5
Romantic attraction 0 .4 0 2.8 4.6 20.7 71.5
Sexual behavior 0 .1 0 .9 .8 9.4 88.8
Bisexual (N=102)
Sexual attraction 0 6.9 16.7 29.4 24.5 22.5 0
Romantic attraction 9.8 12.7 9.8 30.4 19.6 12.7 4.9
Sexual behavior 9.8 13.7 12.7 21.6 15.7 15.7 10.8
Queer (N=29)
Sexual attraction 0 6.9 3.4 10.3 6.9 41.4 31
Romantic attraction 3.4 10.3 6.9 6.9 17.2 27.6 27.6
Sexual behavior 17.2 3.4 0 3.4 6.9 13.8 55.2
Pansexual (N=18)
Sexual attraction 0 11.1 22.2 50 11.1 5.6 0
Romantic attraction 0 11.1 16.7 66.7 5.6 0 0
Sexual behavior 11.1 16.7 22.2 16.7 22.2 0 11.1
Women
Gay/lesbian (N= 526)
Sexual attraction 0 0 0 2.3 4.8 42 51
Romantic attraction 0 0 0.4 2.5 3.2 19.8 74.1
Sexual behavior 0 0 0.6 4 1.7 17.1 76.6
Bisexual (N= 302)
Sexual attraction 0 6.3 19.2 42.7 19.5 11.3 1
Romantic attraction 4.6 7.9 11.6 36.4 16.2 18.2 5
Sexual behavior 18.5 19.2 16.6 22.5 7.3 5 10.9
Queer (N= 92)
Sexual attraction 1.1 4.3 6.5 14.1 21.7 39.1 13
Romantic attraction 0 5.4 7.6 22.8 10.9 34.8 18.5
Sexual behavior 10.9 8.7 6.5 15.2 6.5 23.9 28.3
Pansexual (N= 95)
Sexual attraction 1.1 2.1 7.4 57.9 23.2 8.4 0
Romantic attraction 2.1 3.2 11.6 53.7 14.7 12.6 2.1
Sexual behavior 15.8 20 16.8 32.6 6.3 7.4 1.1
Note. Percentages represent the proportion of those within each sexual identity group (gay/lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual), separated by gender (male,
female) who reported Exclusive opposite sex, Mostly opposite sex, Opposite sex somewhat more, Equally divided between same and opposite sex, Same sex
somewhat more, Mostly same sex, Exclusively same sex sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior.
MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
8
frequently reported by women than men is a matter of ongoing
debate. Some argue that less societal acceptance of male than
female same-sex sexuality renders nonmonosexual men less
willing to acknowledge or disclose their same-sex sexual attrac-
tions, behavior, and/or identity than their female counterparts.
Moreover, as male bisexuality is often viewed as an illegitimate
orientation adopted by gay men who are in denial (Yost &
Thomas, 2012), nonmonosexual men may anticipate that dis-
closure of their sexuality will be met with skepticism, ridicule,
and rejection (including from sexual/romantic partners)
(Schrimshaw, Downing, & Cohn, 2016;Yost&Thomas,
2012). These social factors may partly explain the poor repre-
sentation of nonmonosexual men in studies like our own; how-
ever, there is reason to suspect that womens sexual orientation,
which is less category specicandmoreuidthenmens, may
be inherently more suited to the development of nonmonosexual
identities (Baumeister, 2000;Chiversetal.,2004;Kinnish,
Strassberg, & Turner, 2005; Rieger et al., 2005).
In the present sample, queer and pansexual identities
were adopted by almost two-thirds of noncisgender partici-
pants, extending observations of Katz-Wise et al. (2015)to
the Australian context. As mentioned previously, queer and
pansexual labels may be preferred by noncisgender indivi-
duals for practical and political reasons. For those whose
gender identity is nonbinary (e.g., genderuid), lesbian and
gay identities are problematic in that they assume identica-
tion as a man or a woman, whereas queer and pansexual
labels do not require individuals to dene their own gender
in relation to their object choice. In line with this assertion,
it should be noted that queer and pansexual identities pre-
dominated only among a subgroup of noncisgender partici-
pants, namely those reporting the nonbinary gender
identities of genderqueer or genderuid. Queer and pansex-
ual identities were somewhat less common among FTM and
MTF transgender men and women, presumably because in
identifying as men and women, these individuals t more
neatly into traditional sexual identity categories (i.e., les-
bian, gay, straight).
As predicted, pansexual individuals overwhelmingly
represented their sexual/romantic attractions as falling
within the bisexual range of the sexual continuum
(Opposite sex somewhat more to Same sex somewhat
more) and displayed the same pattern of sexual attraction,
romantic attraction, sexual behavior, and partner gender as
individuals who self-identied as bisexual. In contrast,
queer identity appeared to be adopted by substantial propor-
tions of both monosexual and nonmonosexual individuals.
About three-quarters of queer men displayed homosexual
patterns of sexual attraction, behavior, and partner gender,
with a minority (~20%) reporting sexual attraction and sex-
ual behavior in the bisexual range. Among women, a slight
majority reported sexual attraction in the homosexual range
(52%); however, more so than in men, a substantial number
of queer women (42%) demonstrated sexual attraction in the
bisexual range. These ndings align with Horners(2007)
claims that individuals may arrive at a queer identity for a
number of distinct reasons. A queer identity may represent
an alternative to a bisexual identity for a nonmonosexual
individual who wishes to signal openness to individuals of
any gender or sex or who wishes to avoid the stigma that is
attached to a bisexual label. A queer identity may also
represent an alternative to a gay or lesbian identity among
individuals who are predominantly or exclusively homosex-
ual in erotic disposition but who wish to communicate
attraction to noncisgender individuals, or ideological resis-
tance to binary notions of sexual orientation. For example,
queer mens and womens preference for describing their
sexual attractions as mostly rather than exclusively same sex
may stem from their opposition to sexual orientation and
gender binaries.
Limitations and Future Directions
The present data were obtained through the sampling
of sexual minority individuals recruited from LGB orga-
nizations, university pride groups, and social media.
Samples such as these are more likely to be biased
toward those who are younger, more highly educated,
and more connected to the gay community than the
LGB population at large (Ross, Månsson, Daneback,
Cooper, & Tikkanen, 2005). This recruitment method
may have inated the proportion of queer- and pansex-
ual-identied individuals in our sample, although the
Table 5. Proportion of Same-Sex, Opposite-Sex, Same- and
Opposite-Sex, and Noncisgender Partners Across Sexual Identity
in Cisgender Men and Women
Gay/Lesbian Bisexual Queer Pansexual
Same-sex partner
Men 99.4 (536) 40 (26) 68.8 (11) 37.5 (3)
Women 97.9 (369) 28.6 (56) 60.3 (35) 23.3 (14)
Across gender 98.8 (905)
a
31.4 (82)
b
62.2 (46)
c
25 (17)
b
Opposite-sex
partner
Men 0.6 (3) 38.5 (25) 25 (4) 62.5 (5)
Women 0.8 (3) 57.1 (112) 27.6 (16) 58.3 (35)
Across gender 0.7 (6)
a
40.2 (137)
b
27 (20)
c
58.8 (40)
b
Same & opposite-
sex partners
Men 0 (0) 21.5 (14) 6.3 (1) 0 (0)
Women 0.8 (3) 12.8 (25) 6.9 (4) 10 (6)
Across gender 0.3 (3)
14.9 (39)
a
6.8 (6)
a
8.8 (5)
a
Non-cisgender
partner
Men 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
Women 0.5 (2) 1.5 (3) 5.2 (3) 8.3 (5)
Across gender
0.2 (2) 1.1 (3) 4.1 (3) 7.4 (5)
Sexual identity × Partner gender, χ
2
(9) = 753.78, p< .001.
Note. Comparisons of sexual identity labels were collapsed across gender
due to insufcient cell size for separate analyses by gender. Sexual identity
labels in a row which share the same letters do not differ signicantly at
p< .05. Bonferroni corrections for multiple comparisons were undertaken
when comparing column proportions in each row.
No comparisons undertaken as cell size < 5.
WHO ADOPTS QUEER AND PANSEXUAL SEXUAL IDENTITIES?
9
observed proportions are broadly equivalent to those
reported in other online convenience samples of sexual
minorities (Katz-Wise, 2014; Leonard et al., 2012). Our
recruitment was also targeted toward nonheterosexuals
who adopt queer and pansexual identities. Some scho-
lars, however, have documented the phenomenon of
queer heterosexuals(Thomas, Aimone, &
MacGillivray, 2000). These are individuals with predo-
minantly heterosexual erotic preferences who adopt a
queer label as a political statement in opposition to
traditional categories of sexuality (straight versus gay)
and gender (men versus women). While examining
queer heterosexuals was beyond the scope of the present
study, future studies may examine personal motivations
for embracing queer identities, as well as sexual interests
and behaviors among this subgroup of heterosexuals.
Finally, our sample was almost exclusively Australian
residing, and as such the generalizability of the present
ndings to sexual minority populations in other Western
(as well as non-Western) cultures is unclear.
One major limitation of the present study was the small
proportion of queer and pansexual men in our sample. This
may have resulted in insufcient power to detect differences
in sexual orientation indices in these samples of men, parti-
cularly among pansexual men (i.e., increased Type II error
rate). It should be noted, however, that our sample of
pansexual men was still larger than that observed in the
previous studies we reviewed. Replications with larger sam-
ples of queer- and pansexual-identied men would add
condence to the veracity of the ndings presented here.
These ndings also suggest that nontraditional identities
may be less relevant to sexual minority men at present,
which may be expected given that nonmonosexual attrac-
tions in men are relatively rare (Rieger et al., 2005;
Rosenthal et al., 2012).
The measurement of sexual orientation in the present
study was limited in a number of respects. First, to embed
the present ndings in the rich existing literature on sexual
orientation, we adapted a well-used dimensional measure of
sexual and romantic attraction (Klein et al., 1985), with
exclusively same-sex attraction at one pole and exclusively
other-sex attraction at the other. However, as identied by
Galupo et al. (2014), this may lead to a biased assessment of
attractions, given that person-based or uid attractions,
which are commonly reported by nonmonosexuals, cannot
be accurately represented as an intermediate point between
same- and opposite-gender poles. In addition, using
response anchors on the Klein scale, which specied sex
rather than gender,may have caused confusion among
those attracted to transgender or gender-nonconforming
individuals. Future studies may assess person-based attrac-
tions by measuring sexual attraction to men and women on
separate items (see Galupo, Lomash, and Mitchell (2016)),
whereby genderless attractions can be inferred from rela-
tively low attraction to either gender. Fluid attractions may
be assessed via shifts in sexual identity, attraction, or beha-
vior occurring over time (Katz-Wise, 2014).
Finally, the present ndings may inform how researchers
assess sexual identity in contemporary sexual and gender
minority samples. First, providing a full range of sexual
identity labels, including the nontraditional labels pansexual
and queer and/or a write-in response, will enable researchers
to accurately capture the diversity of sexual identities within
these populations. This is particularly important among
noncisgender populations for whom nontraditional labels
appear to predominate. Second, as secondary or compound
sexual identities are not uncommon among those adopting
nontraditional labels (Galupo et al., 2015; Rust, 2000),
assessing multiple identities may prove useful in determin-
ing whether a participant is monosexual or nonmonosexual
(e.g., queer bisexualversus queer lesbian/gay).
Alternatively, such information can be garnered by deploy-
ing a continuous measure of sexual orientation (exclusively
straight to exclusively lesbian/gay) separate from the assess-
ment of sexual identity. Finally, researchers should be mind-
ful to phrase items assessing sexual identity outcomes and
minority stress (e.g., internalized stigma, outness) in a man-
ner that is inclusive of pansexual and queer individuals (i.e.,
including pansexual/queer alongside lesbian, gay, and bisex-
ual labels in relevant items) to avoid the possibility of
differential item functioning among queer and pansexual
respondents.
Conclusion
Although there is much popular and scholarly interest in
queer and pansexual identities (Russell et al., 2009; Savin-
Williams, 2005), there has been an absence of quantitative
studies examining who adopts these labels in contemporary
sexual minority populations. The present study has provided
preliminary insights into this question. This information may
assist counselors, LGBT advocates, and sex researchers in
understanding who is queer and pansexual, contributing to
more informed service provision, advocacy, and research
among those endorsing these nontraditional sexual identities.
Notes
1. Some recent studies have reported that men are as likely (or even more
likely) to experience sexual uidity as women (Katz-Wise & Hyde,
2015; Ott, Corliss, Wypij, Rosario, & Austin, 2011; Rosario,
Schrimshaw, Hunter, & Braun, 2006). However, in these studies,
uidity is conceptualized as any shift in sexual attraction or identity
irrespective of direction. Closer inspection of these shifts nds they are
typically from straight gay, bisexual gay, or straight bisexual
gay; shifts which can be explained as representing normative
sexual identity development and/or transitional bisexuality (in other-
wise homosexual men). To show that there exists comparable uidity
in men as in women requires evidence from retrospective or long-
itudinal studies that some gay/bisexual/straight men experience sexual
identity trajectories similar to those documented in Diamonds long-
itudinal research into female sexuality (i.e., gay bisexual; gay
straight; gay > bisexual > unlabeled); that is, transitions which cannot
be explained as merely the movement from a presumed heterosexual
identity to a gay identity (via a transitional bisexual identity).
Evidence of these types of trajectories, to our knowledge, are absent
from existing quantitative or qualitative research in men.
MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
10
2. The inclusion of pansexualas a sexual identity option occurred after
recruitment had commenced in response to participants frequently
specifying pansexualin the Other (write in) option. This may have
inuenced the overall proportion of participants registering a pansex-
ual identity; however, this would not have foreseeably inuenced the
proportion of men, women, and transgender individuals within the
pansexual group (nor sexual orientation ratings), which was the pri-
mary focus of the present study.
ORCID
Alexander Blaszczynski http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1476-
0791
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MORANDINI, BLASZCZYNSKI, AND DAR-NIMROD
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... About two decades later, "pansexual identity," commonly defined as romantic and/ or sexual attraction that is not limited to a particular gender identity, entered common parlance in the 1990s (Belous & Bauman 2017;Elizabeth 2013;Gonel 2013). Some may use the terms, "bisexual" and "pansexual," interchangeably, especially because both challenge traditional monosexual norms, however, others see a distinction between bisexuality as binary (due to its enforcement of two-and most often two binary-genders) and pansexual as non-binary (Belous & Bauman 2017;Elizabeth 2016;Galupo et al. 2017;Morandini et al. 2017). Largely contrasting with most definitions of bisexuality, pansexuality is often conceptualized as non-binary because it encompasses romantic and sexual attraction to those who challenge the gender binary, including trans, gender fluid, and non-binary people, though sometimes bisexuality can represent something similar (Callis 2014;Hayfield 2020). ...
... There may, however, also be differences in pan-and bi-negativities. For example, perhaps because pansexual identity has become more commonly used more recently (Belous & Bauman 2017;Elizabeth 2013;Gonel 2013), studies conducted in Australia and the US find that pansexual individuals tend to be younger than lesbian/gay and bisexual individuals (Galupo et al. 2017;Morandini et al. 2017), and thus, they may have less social power and may also be more vulnerable to hostilities, including violence. In particular, because young people's non-heteronormative sexual identities are regularly questioned and invalidated, even being described as "temporary" and/or "experimental" (Savin-Williams 2011), young pansexual women may be especially likely to be viewed as "confused" and, as a result, they may experience violence and harassment. ...
... There may also be differences in bisexual and pansexual women's experiences with violence and harassment, however. Indeed, there is evidence that pansexual people may differ from LGBT people in various ways, which include their experiences with social power (Coston 2021;Galupo et al. 2017;Morandini et al. 2017), yet no studies to date have specifically examined pansexual women's victimization, especially using a theoretically informed framework that recognizes the value of intersectionality. ...
Article
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Recent research suggests that bisexual women may be at high risk for victimization due to their non-monosexual identities, yet it is unclear whether pansexual women, who also have non-monosexual identities, may be at high risk for victimization as well. In the current study, data from a sample of adults in the United States, between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four and stratified by census categories of age, gender, race/ethnicity and census region collected from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) online panelists (n = 1559), were utilized to investigate bisexual (n = 358) and pansexual (n = 45) women’s victimization through a test of Norm-Centered Stigma Theory with a theoretical focus on heteronormativity and intersecting experiences with social power (gender and sexuality) (Worthen 2020). Three notable findings emerged. First, pansexual women experienced higher levels of harassment when compared to bisexual women. Second, both being pansexual and being a pansexual woman significantly increased the odds of enduring violence and harassment. Third, being a bisexual woman decreased the odds of experiencing violence and was not statistically significantly related to harassment. Overall, results suggest that pansexual women may have especially unique experiences that put them at risk for victimization and demonstrate the importance of specifically examining pansexual women’s experiences as separate from others. A discussion of the contributions and limitations of quantitative analyses in critical criminology, in general, and queer criminology, in particular, is also provided. Because this study is the first to highlight the intersecting experiences of pansexual women and their elevated risk of violence and harassment, the findings provide a much-needed first step into working toward developing a deeper understanding of pansexual people’s victimization. In addition, the results demonstrate the need for future research across multiple methods of investigation, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches to best understand these relationships.
... It should be noted that LGBTQ + does not capture the full spectrum of identities and its usage may mask important differences observed within these groups. In recent decades, there has been a growing social awareness, understanding, and acceptance of LGBTQ + individuals, resulting in major shifts in our perception of gender and sexuality (Morandini et al., 2017). According to a trend forecasting report in the United States (U.S.), youth were found to be far more open-minded and permissive regarding issues of gender and sexuality (Tsjeng, 2016). ...
... The emergence of pansexuality as a sexual orientation has led to the onset of psychological research on pansexual individuals. In a cross-sectional study by Morandini et al. (2017), individuals who adopted pansexual labels were compared with individuals who adopted more traditional sexual labels. In this study, the sexual and demographic characteristics of 2200 LGBTQ + individuals (ages 18 to 77 years) were analyzed including age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education, and income. ...
... gender identities that do not align with sex assigned at birth or do not conform to normative categories of man vs. woman) (Porta et al., 2020). In accordance with this finding, similar research has noted that pansexual youth are likely to adopt and even prefer non-cisgender identities more than youth belonging to other sexual identity categories (Morandini et al., 2017). The adoption of these labels makes sense given the increasing number of people subscribing to nonbinary views of sexuality and gender. ...
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Pansexuality is the emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction towards people regardless of their biological sex, gender identity, or gender expression. Literature regarding LGTBQ + populations has more recently been included in the available research. However, specific subgroups receive much less attention. This study was conducted through an anonymous online survey of mental health professionals in the United States. A preliminary investigation into this area may highlight both the unique stressors affecting pansexual youth and improve upon the therapeutic services provided to this population. Quantitative methods consisted of univariate, bivariate, and multivariate statistics. Results displayed a positive, statistically significant relationship (p = .017) between identified gender and working with pansexual youth. Another linear regression showed that there was a positive, statistically significant relationship (p = .000) between receiving relevant/any training/education and working with pansexual youth. In a third regression, a positive, statistically significant relationship (p = .001) was found between theoretical orientation and working with pansexual youth. The results showcased the need for clinicians to be more mindful of biases, to further their training on sexual minority populations, and for overall advocacy. Clinical implications and future directions are discussed.
... The pansexual identity includes cisgender and non-cisgender individuals, and it is more common among younger than older adults (Greaves et al., 2019). Among cisgender persons, pansexual individuals are similar to bisexual individuals on sexual attractions and behaviors (Morandini et al., 2017;Timmins et al., 2021). Of cisgender individuals, those who identify as queer are somewhat more similar to lesbian/gay individuals on sexual attractions (Morandini et al., 2017;Timmins et al., 2021). ...
... Among cisgender persons, pansexual individuals are similar to bisexual individuals on sexual attractions and behaviors (Morandini et al., 2017;Timmins et al., 2021). Of cisgender individuals, those who identify as queer are somewhat more similar to lesbian/gay individuals on sexual attractions (Morandini et al., 2017;Timmins et al., 2021). ...
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Three models of recalled childhood gender nonconformity (GNC) and maltreatment are proposed to explain disparities in current psychological distress and lifetime suicidality among sexual minority individuals, using a United States probability sample of cisgender lesbian/gay (n = 701), bisexual (n = 606), and other (e.g., queer, n = 182) adults. Indirect effects indicated that lesbian/gay individuals were more likely than bisexual individuals to experience maltreatment and suicidal ideation as childhood GNC increased. Other indirect effects found that bisexual individuals reported more psychological distress and greater likelihood of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts than lesbian/gay individuals as maltreatment increased. The direct effects of sexual orientation were stronger than the indirect effects via maltreatment or GNC, with bisexual individuals reporting more maltreatment, distress, and suicidality than lesbian/gay individuals. Significant findings for individuals with other identities were similar to those of bisexual individuals. Adjusted findings were comparable for women and men. The findings indicated that sexual minority individuals reported experiences consistent with sexual minority stress during early developmental periods, before being aware of their sexual orientation. It is necessary to understand the early lived experiences of sexual minority individuals, differences between lesbian/gay and bisexual individuals in those experiences, and their implications for adaptation.
... Moreover, the bisexual+ community is made up of multiple diverse communities who experience attraction and identify in various ways (Choi et al., 2019;Feinstein et al., 2021;Gonzalez et al., 2021). Bisexual+ is an umbrella term for individuals who experience multi-gender attraction and includes those who identify as bisexual or with other kinds of multi-gender or non-binary attraction (e.g., pansexual, omnisexual etc.) (Flanders, 2017;Morandini et al., 2017). Such terms can be helpful to group together those with similar experiences where representation is lacking in research or practice. ...
... However, it is important to recognize the diversity and intersectionality within bisexual+ communities. In addition, there is evidence that bisexual+ communities have significant overlap with gender diverse (Borgogna et al., 2019;Flanders, Legge, et al., 2019;Hirsch et al., 2017;Mak et al., 2020;Morandini et al., 2017), asexual (Scherrer, 2008), and neurodiverse communities (Hall et al., 2020;Pecora et al., 2020;Toft, 2020). Like bisexuality, asexuality is difficult to describe without utilizing existing norms and terms that are often challenged and subverted by individual self-identification and lived experience (Schudson & van Anders, 2019). ...
Article
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Multi-gender attracted (bisexual+) youth experience a high risk for suicide and mental health problems, but little is known about their protective factors. This study explored the challenges and supporting factors for wellbeing in a sample of diverse bisexual+ young people through semi-structured qualitative interviews. Participants (n = 15) were aged 17–25 years and were multi-gender attracted. The sample included young people who were transgender and gender diverse (TGD), culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), Aboriginal, living in regional areas, and on the asexual spectrum. This research demonstrated unique challenges and protective factors for bisexual+ wellbeing compared to other sexual minority youth. In particular, the findings highlight the exclusion and stigmatization that many bisexual+ young people face, including from within the LGBTQIA+ community. These experiences were more pronounced for some bisexual+ youth, including TGD or CALD young people. Consequently, bisexual+ youth often had limited social support and a sense of belonging, which can buffer against the impact of marginalization among lesbian and gay youth. Despite these challenges, young people were resilient, empathetic and tolerant of others. Those who had access to supportive environments, visibility, and information on their diversity found these healing. Wellbeing in bisexual+ youth was impacted by a myriad of intersecting aspects of identity and experience, highlighting the importance of intersectional approaches in understanding minority experiences. The findings underscore the need for targeted and intersectional services for sexually diverse youth to address the wellbeing needs of this diverse group.
... Also, several studies have examined who adopts pansexual and queer identities (Galupo et al., 2017;Morandini et al., 2017), but few have explored to what extent unique minority stress factors might influence pansexual-and queer-identifying individuals' identity formation and their couple relationships. Instead, it is often assumed that pansexual-and queer-identifying people fall under the "bisexual umbrella" (i.e., they have the same mental health outcomes and experience the same couple-level minority stress as bisexual identifying individuals; Galupo et al., 2017;Svensson & Frost, 2021). ...
Chapter
This chapter will address couple relationships and connectedness in sexual minority emerging adults (SMEA). It is reflected in the development of affective sexual socialization among couples of young lesbian, gay and bissexual (LGB) individuals. With the recent social transformations, from the cultural to the legal field, the sex-loving relationships of this minority group have experienced new formulations and meanings. The establishment of conjugal ties for a long time has been a denied alternative; however, with new legislative configurations around the world, these young people are discovering this experience as a framework for the socialization of sexuality. The chapter’s proposal is divided into three topics: discussing the relationship between emerging adulthood in LGB individuals and conjugality; exploring risk and protective factors of SMEA couple relationships, reflecting on minority stress in a couple level; and pointing out clinical challenges when working with these marital configurations. All these must consider that homophobia is still a reality in several countries and that these emerging adults still live with considerable rates of internalized homophobia and in a community marked by segregation and social hierarchy.
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Surveillance data indicate youth have many sexual and gender identities that should be included in clinical forms and surveys to document and improve health equity.
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Research on intersectional differences among sexual minority youth (SMY) relies on population-level datasets to ensure sufficiently large samples to explore between-group differences and assess the influence of axes of oppression/privilege. I argue that a structural equation modeling framework for investigating intersectional differences among SMY increases the nuance with which we understand heterogeneity and provides tools for ensuring that variables measure comparable constructs across diverse populations - an assumption of traditional univariate methods that is rarely empirically verified. Using a subset of SMY that identified as either White or Hispanic/Latino and male or female from the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (N = 3,654), this study tested invariance of three latent constructs: psychological distress, substance use, and adult support across sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, sex, and three-way intersections of those identities. Analyses established invariance across race/ethnicity and sex of all constructs among gay/lesbian youth. Partial invariance models were required to account for intersectional differences in substance use among bisexual youth and in psychological distress among questioning youth. This study models a novel strategy for examining how social location at the intersection of multiple axes of oppression/privilege shape behavioral health and social support and paves the way for significant advances in research on SMY.
Chapter
A growing number of adolescents have diverse sexual identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning (i.e., LGBQ). As a marginalized and minoritized group, LGBQ youth face unique challenges in peer relationships that impact their mental health and well-being. Minority stress theory (Meyer, 2003) provides a framework for understanding how marginalization and discrimination experiences, rather than sexual identity per se, contribute to health disparities among LGBQ youth. In the current chapter, we consider minority stressors that LGBQ adolescents experience in the peer context, including identity concealment, coming out, peer rejection, harassment and victimization, and friendship instability. We describe research linking these experiences of peer adversity with LGBQ adolescents’ health and well-being, including substance use, depression, and suicidality. Additionally, we highlight school connectedness and supportive friendships as potential protective factors. Finally, we summarize conclusions and implications of the research and offer suggestions for how future work might expand the scholarship on LGBQ adolescents’ peer relationships by increasing attention to diverse emerging sexual identities, intersectionality, the developmental course of sexual identity in sociopolitical context, and friendship features and processes that promote enhanced well-being among LGBQ youth.
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Although bisexual men are known to be less likely to disclose their sexual orientation to others than gay men, the reasons why bisexual men choose or feel unable to disclose have received minimal research attention. To examine the reasons behaviorally bisexual men offer for not disclosing to their friends, family, and female partners, in-depth interviews were conducted with an ethnically diverse sample of 203 men who had not disclosed their same-sex behavior to their female sexual partners in New York City. Men were recruited from multiple venues and online sources using a targeted sampling approach. Transcripts were thematically analyzed using Atlas.ti software. Contrary to the theory that non-disclosure is due to uncertainty about one’s sexual identity, the reasons offered for non-disclosure revealed that it was largely a method to avoid stigmatizing reactions from others. Men reported a number of specific reasons for non-disclosure, including (1) anticipation of negative emotional reactions; (2) anticipation of negative changes in relationships; (3) belief that others held stigmatizing attitudes toward homosexuality; (4) prior experience with negative reactions to disclosure; (5) wanting to maintain others’ perceptions of him; (6) fear that those told would disclose to additional people; and (7) fear of rejection due to culture or religion. These findings provide insights into the reasons why many behaviorally bisexual men choose not to disclose, potential reasons why bisexual and gay men differ in the extent to which they disclose, and potential reasons why some bisexual men report greater emotional distress than gay men. Further, they suggest that greater attention needs to be placed on addressing the stigmatizing contexts that confront bisexual men and providing them with strategies to manage stigma.
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Previous qualitative research on traditional measures of sexual orientation raise concerns regarding how well these scales capture sexual minority individuals' experience of sexuality. The present research focused on the critique of two novel scales developed to better capture the way sexual and gender minority individuals conceptualize sexuality. Participants were 179 sexual minority (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, asexual) individuals who identified as cisgender (n = 122) and transgender (n = 57). Participants first completed the new scales, then provided qualitative responses regarding how well each scale captured their sexuality. The Sexual-Romantic Scale enabled the measurement of sexual and romantic attraction to each sex independently (same-sex and other-sex). Participants resonated with the way the Sexual-Romantic scale disaggregated sexual and romantic attraction. Although cisgender monosexual (lesbian/gay) individuals positively responded to the separation of same- and other-sex attraction, individuals with either plurisexual (bisexual, pansexual, or fluid) or transgender identities found the binary conceptualization of sex/gender problematic. The Gender-Inclusive Scale incorporated same- and other-sex attraction as well as dimensions of attraction beyond those based on sex (attraction to masculine, feminine, androgynous, and gender non-conforming individuals). The incorporation of dimensions of sexual attraction outside of sex in the Gender-Inclusive Scale was positively regarded by participants of all identities. Findings indicate that the Sexual-Romantic and Gender-Inclusive scales appear to address some of the concerns raised in previous research regarding the measurement of sexual orientation among sexual minority individuals.
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Studies with volunteers in sexual arousal experiments suggest that women are, on average, physiologically sexually aroused to both male and female sexual stimuli. Lesbians are the exception because they tend to be more aroused to their preferred sex than the other sex, a pattern typically seen in men. A separate research line suggests that lesbians are, on average, more masculine than straight women in their nonsexual behaviors and characteristics. Hence, a common influence could affect the expression of male-typical sexual and nonsexual traits in some women. By integrating these research programs, we tested the hypothesis that male-typical sexual arousal of lesbians relates to their nonsexual masculinity. Moreover, the most masculine-behaving lesbians, in particular, could show the most male-typical sexual responses. Across combined data, Study 1 examined these patterns in women's genital arousal and self-reports of masculine and feminine behaviors. Study 2 examined these patterns with another measure of sexual arousal, pupil dilation to sexual stimuli, and with observer-rated masculinity-femininity in addition to self-reported masculinity-femininity. Although both studies confirmed that lesbians were more male-typical in their sexual arousal and nonsexual characteristics, on average, there were no indications that these 2 patterns were in any way connected. Thus, women's sexual responses and nonsexual traits might be masculinized by independent factors. (PsycINFO Database Record
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The present research explores the range and complexity of sexual minority self-identification. Using a feminist intersectional approach, patterns of self-identification are considered across both sexual identity and gender identity. Participants represent an online convenience sample and included 448 sexual minority individuals. Participants endorsed monosexual (lesbian, gay) and plurisexual (bisexual, pansexual, queer, fluid) sexual identity labels and included both cisgender and transgender individuals. Participants answered a series of open- and closed-ended questions regarding their primary and secondary sexual identities. Monosexual participants were less likely to provide a definition for their primary sexual identity than were plurisexual individuals; and when they did provide a definition they used fewer words. Likewise, monosexual participants were less likely to report secondary sexual identities; and when they did, they provided fewer secondary identities than plurisexual individuals. Transgender individuals were more likely than cisgender individuals to provide a definition for their primary sexual identity and to indicate a secondary sexual identity. These findings suggest that individuals with non-normative identities (plurisexual and transgender) were less likely to endorse single identity labels, and more likely to provide additional context for their identity labels than were individuals with normative identities (monosexual and cisgender). The present findings support the notion that with regard to sexual identity normative identities go unexamined, and that both sexual identity and gender identity contribute to the normative conceptualization of sexuality. This is consistent with our finding that sexual orientation rumination is explained, in part, by primary sexual orientation identity and sexual orientation complexity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)
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