Factor structure of the Outness Inventory in a sample of Black and White lesbian and bisexual young adult women

Alexis Sheffield*, Irene Tung, Johnny Berona, Jessie B. Northrup, Sierra Nannini, Alison E. Hipwell, Kate Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The Outness Inventory (OI) is the most commonly used measure for assessing an individual’s level of outness, or openness about sexual identity. However, data on the validity of the OI factor structure across diverse populations is limited. The present study aimed to test the factor structure of the OI in a population-based sample of Black and White young adult women. Method: Participants included 319 lesbian and bisexual women drawn from the Pittsburgh Girls Study (PGS), a large longitudinal study of 5- to 8-year-old girls (53% Black) oversampled from low-income neighborhoods and followed through adulthood. Participants completed the 11-item OI at ages 20-23 years. Confirmatory factor analyses evaluated measurement invariance of the OI across race and suggested significant differences in factor structure between Black and White sexual minority women. Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) were conducted separately by race. Results: An EFA revealed three factors for the Black subsample: Family, Straight Friends, and Work/Strangers. Three factors also emerged for the White subsample, representing Familiar Acquaintances, Less Familiar Acquaintances, and Work. Conclusion: Additional research is needed to investigate potential culturally-based differences in domains of disclosure, which may help to better understand how specific contexts of outness relate to mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Outness
  • bisexual
  • lesbian
  • sexual minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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