Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Patrick Grzanka

Committee Members

Joseph Miles, Kirsten Gonzalez


In the current study, we integrated the following largely disparate literatures: (a) sexual identity development and developmental milestones; (b) beliefs about sexual orientation; and (c) attitudes regarding sexual identity. We recruited a sample of sexual minority participants (n = 416) via Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) who recalled the age of completing sexual identity developmental milestones (Calzo et al., 2011) and completed the Sexual Orientation Beliefs Scale (SOBS; Arseneau et al., 2013), the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS; Mohr & Kendra, 2011), and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (KPDS; Kessler et al., 2002). We conducted a latent profile analysis (LPA) on the SOBS and replicated previous findings of three distinct belief profiles that were high in discreteness, entitativity, and importance beliefs (a group we named high-DEI), high only with regards to naturalness beliefs (i.e., naturalness-only), and relatively high levels of beliefs across all four types of sexual orientation beliefs (i.e., multidimensional essentialism). Sexual orientation predicted participants’ profile membership, with gay and lesbian participants being more likely to endorse beliefs consistent with the naturalness-only group. Sexual minority people of color were more likely to have response patterns consistent with the high-DEI profile than any other profile. Those recalling first same-sex attraction later in life were more likely to endorse sexual orientation beliefs consistent with the multidimensional essentialism and high-DEI profiles than the naturalness-only profile. Members of the high-DEI profile endorsed the highest levels of all positive and negative attitudes regarding sexual orientation as measured by the LGBIS and endorsed significantly higher levels of psychological distress than members of both the multidimensional essentialism and naturalness-only profiles. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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