Abstract and Keywords
Emerging adulthood presents a unique developmental milieu for sexual orientation and identity development. Over the past 10 years, a body of research has begun delineating contemporary emerging adults’ understandings of their sexual orientation and processes of sexual identity development. This scholarship has increasingly recognized the complexity and multidimensional nature of sexual identity development among both heterosexual and sexual-minority individuals. This review covers current conceptualizations of sexual orientation and identity, traditional and contemporary models of sexual identity development, and recent empirical literature assessing developmental trajectories, consistency between and within dimensions of sexual orientation and identity, stability of these dimensions, and issues of sexual identity labeling and categorization. This scholarship suggests that increased attention to diversity within and between sexual identity groups is warranted but also reveals notable patterns and categories that should be considered as the field moves forward.
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