Identity complexity and integration in lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual adolescents and emerging adults: Implications for clinical practice

Simona Picariello, Cristiano Scandurra, Seth J Schwartz, Anna Lisa Amodeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study aimed at assessing whether differences exist in identity complexity and integration between 31 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) and 33 heterosexual youths (mean age 21.47, SD = 3.27), both Italian and US. Participants completed a newly created questionnaire, the Identity Labels and Life Contexts Questionnaire (ILLCQ), which assesses the interplay between identity dimensions and life contexts. The ILLCQ assesses identity integration on three levels: (a) integration among the different domains of identity in their intersection with the various life contexts (assessed through salience and centrality); (b) integration between an individual's self-definition and the definition of self made by others (perceived self-recognition); and (c) the integration between how the person perceives her/himself to be and the way she/he shows her/himself to others. Results suggest that identity salience varies significantly across life contexts for both LGB and heterosexual youths. The only significant difference between the LGB and heterosexual groups was higher salience and centrality of the sexual orientation domain for LGB youths. Sexuality represents a core identity domain for LGB participants, and perhaps less so for heterosexual participants. LGB youths reported lower general identity recognition from other people. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalMediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Identity development
  • Identity integration
  • ILLCQ
  • LGB youths
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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