The association between sexual orientation identity and behavior across race/ethnicity, sex, and age in a probability sample of high school students

Brian Mustanski*, Michelle Birkett, George J. Greene, Margaret Rosario, Wendy Bostwick, Bethany G. Everett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations


Objectives. We examined the prevalence and associations between behavioral and identity dimensions of sexual orientation among adolescents in the United States, with consideration of differences associated with race/ethnicity, sex, and age. Methods. We used pooled data from 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys to estimate prevalence of sexual orientation variables within demographic sub-groups. We used multilevel logistic regression models to test differences in the association between sexual orientation identity and sexual behavior across groups. Results. There was substantial incongruence between behavioral and identity dimensions of sexual orientation, which varied across sex and race/ ethnicity. Whereas girls were more likely to identify as bisexual, boys showed a stronger association between same-sex behavior and a bisexual identity. The pattern of association of age with sexual orientation differed between boys and girls. Conclusions. Our results highlight demographic differences between 2 sexual orientation dimensions, and their congruence, among 13- to 18-year-old adolescents. Future research is needed to better understand the implications of such differences, particularly in the realm of health and health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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