Measuring Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Self-Administered Survey: Results from Cognitive Research with Older Adults

Jeremy Redford, American Institutes for Research
Aimee Van Wagenen, The Fenway Institute

With the increasing visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families in the US, there has been an increasing emphasis on including items in surveys to identify these citizens. The purpose of this cognitive research was to test respondent understanding and reaction to self-administered sexual orientation and gender identity questions in a general population survey among American adults ages 65 and older. The items tested were adopted from those under consideration by the National Health Interview Survey. Twenty-two cognitive interviews were conducted in Boston, MA and Richmond, VA in the fall of 2011 with a sample of 12 straight/heterosexual participants and 10 gay/lesbian participants. The average age of the respondents was 70 years. Results indicate no comprehension issues related to the sexual orientation and transgender items; respondents thought that these questions were appropriate to ask on a general population survey.

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Presented in Session 109: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health