Comparing sexual orientation identity development in plurisexual versus monosexual latinx sexual minority youth

Sydney Hainsworth, Russell B. Toomey, Karla Anhalt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Plurisexual individuals represent 50% of sexual minority adolescent communities. However, most studies of sexual minority adolescents analyze this population as a homogeneous group rather than attending to plausible differences between plurisexual and monosexual sexual minority youth. This study examined whether plurisexual Latinx youth differed from monosexual youth on three facets of sexual orientation identity (SOI) development (exploration, resolution, and affirmation). Further, we examined whether plurisexual (vs. monosexual) identity moderated the relationship between SOI development and depressive symptoms and self-esteem. Methods: The sample included 365 Latinx sexual minority youth (14–24 years) living in the United States or US Territory. The majority of participants identified as monosexual (84.1%); 15.9% were plurisexual. The sample was 75.6% male, 19.5% female, and 2.0% transgender. Participants were asked to complete an online, cross-sectional survey that asked questions pertaining to ethnicity and sexual orientation. This data was collected in the fall of 2014. Results: Latinx plurisexual youth had higher levels of SOI affirmation, exploration, and resolution than monosexual youth. SOI affirmation and exploration and were positively associated with self-esteem for all youth. SOI affirmation was significantly negatively associated with depressive symptoms for monosexual youth but not for plurisexual youth. SOI exploration and resolution were not significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that there are significant differences between plurisexual and monosexual Latinx adolescent populations in reference to identity affirmation, exploration, and resolution, and that these sexual orientations should be treated distinctly in future research. In addition, all three aspects of identity development were significantly related to higher self-esteem for all youth regardless of identity, providing evidence for the importance of developing these three factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-715
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Identity development
  • adolescent development
  • sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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