Predictors of Sexual Orientation and its Implications for Adolescents

Author: Andleeb Zahra

Supervisor: Rukhsana Kausar, PhD & Farah Malik, PhD

Degree: MPhil

Year: 2012-2014

University: Institute of Applied Psychology, Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan


The aim of current research was to explore predictors and implications of inclination towards homosexual or heterosexual orientation. It was hypothesized that; (a) personality, parent peer attachment and early gender related characteristics would be predicted sexual orientation in adolescents; (b) the adolescents who are higher on the sexual inclination towards the same and opposite sex would differ from adolescents with lower inclination towards the same and opposite sex on gender identity and body image. The research consisted of three studies. The first study was carried out to develop indigenous sexual orientation scale. The sample consisted of 7 homosexuals, 20 heterosexuals and 4 teachers who were approached for interviews in order to generate items for the scale. After item generation, first layout of the scale was developed. In second study, Sexual Orientation Scale’s psychometric properties were established. The sample consisted of 425 adolescents with age range 14 to 17 (M = 16.68, SD = 1.41 and M = 15.56, SD = 2.14 for girls and boys respectively). Principle component analysis revealed five subscales for both boys and girls i.e. sexual inclination towards same sex, sexual inclination towards opposite sex, early preferences for boys’ characteristics, early preferences for girls’ characteristics and mixed characteristics. In third study, predictors and implications of sexual orientation were explored. The sample consisted of 190 adolescents selected from different public and private schools and colleges. They ranged in ages between 14 to 17 years (M = 15.57, SD = 2.14). Sexual Orientation Scale, Big Five Inventory-10 (BFI-10), Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), The Gender Identity/Gender Dysphoria Questionnaire for Adolescents and Adults and Multidimensional Body- Self Relations Questionnaire- Appearance Scales were used for assessment. Attachment with father was found to be the negative predictor and openness, attachment with father and peer and early preferences for boys’ characteristics were found to be positive predictors of sexual inclination towards same sex in girls. Extraversion and early preferences for girls’ characteristics was positive predictor of sexual inclination towards same sex for boys. Significant group differences were found between those who had higher and lower on sexual inclination for same sex. There is need to improve their attachment of adolescents with their parents as it is playing important role in sexual preferences as well as there is no need to work on their body image is also needed.

Keywords: Sexual orientation, sexual inclination, adolescents.

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Corresponding Address: Department of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. Email:, Phone: 92-42-9231245

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