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Components of Sexual Orientation: Attractions, Behaviors, and Identity Labels

2008, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Psychology.

Historically, theorists have conceptualized sexual orientation as a single, unified construct. More recently, various authors and researchers have begun to consider whether attraction could be conceptualized as consisting of multiple aspects. For the purposes of the present study, two measures were developed to assess these various components, which were conceptualized as physical sexual attraction, cognitive sexual attraction, and romantic/relationship attraction. The components of sexual orientation, attraction to women scale (the CSW) was designed to assess these components for participants’ attraction to women and the components of sexual orientation, attraction to men scale (the CSM) was designed to assess these for attraction to men. Incongruence in attraction to women (INC-women) and incongruence in attraction to men (INC-men), as well as overall incongruence (INC-overall), was calculated by summing the differences among various components. Participants were also asked about same-sex sexual behaviors (SSSB), sexual orientation identity, and attitudes towards lesbians and gays.


It was hypothesized that greater component incongruence would be associated with lower psychological well being. This was not largely supported in the present sample. It was also hypothesized that women, non-heterosexually identifying participants, and participants reporting SSSB would be higher on overall incongruence. This was supported for non-heterosexually identified participants, and a number of significant interactions among gender, sexual orientation label, and SSSB are noted for INC-overall as well as INC-men and INC-women. Additionally, it was found that same-sex attraction and orientation was more strongly associated with SSSB for men than it was for women and that participants who reported having engaged in SSSB were more positive in their attitudes towards gays and lesbians. Finally, a number of comparisons are made between the current dataset and a prior data set regarding SSSB for men and women. Implications and interpretations of the findings are discussed.


Don Dell, PhD (Advisor)
Pamela Highlen, PhD (Committee Member)
Karen Taylor, PhD (Committee Member)
115 p.

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Corbley, C. (2008). Components of Sexual Orientation: Attractions, Behaviors, and Identity Labels. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Corbley, Chad. "Components of Sexual Orientation: Attractions, Behaviors, and Identity Labels." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 23 May 2015.

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Corbley, Chad "Components of Sexual Orientation: Attractions, Behaviors, and Identity Labels." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2008. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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