Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory

Brief Overview

Worthington et al. Heterosexual Identity Development Theory has defined heterosexuality identity development as “the individual and social processes by which heterosexually identified persons acknowledge and define their sexual needs, values sexual expression, and characteristics of sexual partners.

Printable Summary (PDF)

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Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory

Stages, Levels, Phases, and Components of the Theory:  

Six factors influencing the development of sexual identity:

  • Biology
  • Microsocial context
  • Gender norms and socialization
  • Culture
  • Religious orientation
  • Systemic homonegativity, sexual prejudice, and privilege
  • Development Statuses
Application of Theory to Practice

This section is designed to provide student affairs professionals, staff, and faculty members with tips and tools to apply theory to practice.

Annotations of Associated Literature

Annotations listed below are associated with the author’s original work to provided a more in-depth look at the theory.

Original Citation

Worthington, R. L., Savory, H.B., Dillon, F.R., & Vernaglia, E.R. (2003). Heterosexual identity development: A multidimensional model of individuals and social identity. Counseling Psychologist, 30, 496-531.

Additional Resources

This page was written and created by Marc Wollenschleger . The webpage is maintained by Amanda Peerce and Jesse Ford.  For information on the page, please contact Amanda Peerce at apeerce@fsu.edu or Jesse Ford at jford3@fsu.edu.