Methodologic Concerns in Defining Lesbian for Health Research

  title={Methodologic Concerns in Defining Lesbian for Health Research},
  author={Donna Brogan and Erica Frank and Lisa K. Elon and Kate O’Hanlan},
A recent report from the Institute of Medicine recommends more methodologic and substantive research on the health of lesbians. This study addresses one methodologic topic identified in the Institute of Medicine report and by a subsequent scientific workshop on lesbian health: the definition and assessment of sexual orientation among women. Data are from the Women Physicians’ Health Study, a questionnaire-based U.S. probability sample survey (N = 4,501). The two items on sexual orientation… 

Are Lesbians Really Women Who Have Sex with Women (WSW)? Methodological Concerns in Measuring Sexual Orientation in Health Research

Comparability of results obtained across studies using different measures of sexual orientation remains unknown and researchers should carefully consider which classification scheme(s) to use based on the theoretical basis for the study and the implications for informing interventions.

Correlates of lesbian sexual functioning.

Age, psychological symptoms, and relationship characteristics were related to some but not all indices of female sexual functioning, and provide a solid empirical basis upon which to explore other determinants of sexual functioning in lesbians.

Sexual orientation and mental health : A review Orientation sexuelle et santé mentale : une revue de la littérature

Background. – The aim of this paper is to review the available knowledge on sexual orientation and mental health, especially for women. Methods. – Papers published in English or French, between 1997

[Sexual orientation and mental health: a review].

Lesbians and health care : a national survey of lesbians' health behaviour and experiences.

  • J. Fish
  • Medicine, Political Science
  • 2002
This thesis contributes to defining a lesbian feminist health agenda by providing alternative conceptions of lesbians' health that do not rely on biomedical, disease models; and it locates lesbians'health experiences within a socio-political framework.

Disclosure of Sexual Orientation and Behavior in the Nurses' Health Study II

Based on the experience, researchers may be encouraged to add questions on sexual orientation to large studies of women, and Concordance between reported sexual orientation on the pilot study and the cohort study was high.

Sexual behaviour of lesbians and bisexual women

These data from the largest UK survey of sexual behaviour between women to date demonstrate that lesbians and bisexual women may have varied sexual histories with both male and female partners.

Health disparities among young adult sexual minorities in the U.S.

Perception of HIV and safer sexual behaviors among lesbians.

In this study, a convenience sample of 78 women was surveyed in order to explore the perception of HIV risk among lesbians, their sexual behaviors, and their sources of information about safer sex.



Who Fills out A “Lesbian” Questionnaire?

Most research on lesbians has used self-report questionnaires, and assumed that respondents who complete a “lesbian” questionnaire self-identify as lesbians and engage in sexual relationships with

"I only read about myself on bathroom walls": the need for research on the mental health of lesbians and gay men.

  • E. Rothblum
  • Psychology
    Journal of consulting and clinical psychology
  • 1994
There is relatively little empirical research on the mental health issues of lesbians and gay men and whether researchers choose to define sexual orientation by sexual behavior, self-definition, or membership in lesbian and gay community groups will have an impact on the results.

Assessment of sexual orientation in lesbian/gay/bisexual studies.

A critical review of various methods for assessing sexual orientation in previous lesbian/gay/bisexual studies suggests that women and bisexuals were underrepresented, and, in about one third of the studies, participants' sexual orientations were assumed rather than assessed.

The Women Physicians' Health Study: background, objectives, and methods.

  • E. Frank
  • Medicine, Political Science
    Journal of the American Medical Women's Association
  • 1995
This is the first large-scale study of the demographic and psychosocial characteristics as well as the health behaviors, health status, and counseling practices of women physicians.

The Nurses' Health Study: 20-year contribution to the understanding of health among women.

Special emphasis is placed on the recent findings from the Nurses' Health Study, including relations between weight gain and heart disease, diabetes, and mortality, the lack of relation between calcium and osteoporotic fractures, and the positive relation between postmenopausal use of hormones and risk of breast cancer.

Health-related behaviors of women physicians vs other women in the United States.

Women physicians report having generally good health habits even when compared with other socioeconomically advantaged women and report exceeding all examined national goals for personal screening practices and other personal health behaviors.

The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States

This survey of sexual practices in the United States has been combed by the media for items of interest to the public: monogamous sex is much more widespread in this country than has been thought;

Definition and measurement of sexual orientation.

This paper reviews major methods, and their theoretical underpinnings, for the definition and measurement of sexual orientation, highlighting their limitations and pitfalls.

Would you say you "had sex" if...?

CONTEXT The current public debate regarding whether oral sex constitutes having "had sex" or sexual relations has reflected a lack of empirical data on how Americans as a population define these