Date of this Version
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity 1:4 (December 2014), pp. 489–497.
Research on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals has long examined outness, or openness about one’s sexual orientation, as an important predictor of health and well-being. The authors reconceptualized outness as a composite of two related but independent constructs: disclosure and concealment of sexual orientation. This conceptualization guided creation of the Nebraska Outness Scale (NOS), a 10-item measure with a concealment (NOS-C) and disclosure (NOS-D) subscale. The scale and subscales showed good internal reliability, discriminant, convergent, and predictive validity. As hypothesized, concealment showed a stronger relationship to mental health and well-being constructs than disclosure. Disclosure, but not concealment, also differed across sexual orientations with bisexual individuals reporting less disclosure and mostly gay/lesbian and gay/lesbian individuals reporting successively higher levels. The authors conclude that concealment and disclosure are separate constructs and that concealment may be more relevant to minority stress processes among LGB individuals and may provide a more comparable measure across sexual orientation categories. Further research is needed to validate the scale and to examine the role that outness plays in minority stress among LGB individuals.