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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

Committee Chair

Maryka Biaggio, PhD


This literature review provides an overview and comparison of various models of sexual minority identity development, including the Cass model (1979), the Coleman model (1982), the Minton-McDonald model (1984), the Troiden model (1989), and the Garnets model (2002). The comparison portion of this thesis reviews major differences among the models such as the theoretical foundation of each model, the proposed goal of each model, and whether the model proposes a linear path to the identified goal. The comparison portion also examines significant similarities among the models such as in stages required to achieve the proposed goal and whether the models identify any gender influences. A table illustrating these differences and similarities is offered. The conclusion section discusses the merits of the stage-achievement models as initial attempts to conceptualize the process of nonheterosexual identity formation. The conclusion section further examines the benefits of a multi-pathway model such as that proposed by Garnets. The final portion of this thesis includes a recommendation for reality-based models. ii