Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Keith W. Beard

Second Advisor

Stephen L. O’Keefe

Third Advisor

Ray V. Haning


This study examined the influence pre-adulthood overt and covert same-sex sexual behaviors had on adult sexual orientation and the influence post-adulthood overt and covert same-sex sexual behaviors had on sexual identity in both women and men. Retrospective data were gathered via a computer-assisted self interview on 1281 non-transsexual female (age range 18-78) and 804 non-transsexual male (age range 18-84) participants for the outcome of sexual orientation and 1086 non-transsexual female and 692 non-transsexual male participants for outcomes of sexual identity. Same-sex romantic emotional attachment experience before adulthood predicted adult same-sex sexual orientation in both women and men. Such experiences occurred pre-puberty in women and post-puberty in men. Several same-sex sexual behaviors demonstrated to be influenced by romantic emotional attachment experienced before adulthood predicted lesbian, bisexual, gay or questioning sexual identities in adulthood. Results suggest that psychological mechanisms of conditioning influence the construction and maintenance of same-sex sexual orientation and sexual identity. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.


Sexual orientation.

Gender identity.