This book, Ex-Gays?, is not an easy read because the authors, Stan Jones and Mark Yarhouse, want this to be seen as an empirically-based study. The prose is fine but this is a serious piece and not your typical storied study of homosexuality and the Christian faith. So, in one fell swoop I will summarize three chps about “methodology” and “sample” and “understanding and measuring change of sexual orientation.”
The authors know that a credible, scientifically-respectable study has to be:
Longitudinal: participants need to be followed over time.
Prospective: study needs to begin with participants who are entering into the process and not just afterwards who then look back onto their lives and report what they think it was like.
Representative: it must be a representative sample of those seeking change.
Direct and using standard measures: the persons must report themselves and measures need to be reliable and reputable.
In spite of some oddities of this study, they believe their study achieves each of these.
The sample is then surveyed, and I must admit the details are a bit overwhelming. Their retention rate was acceptable (73%). They have tables on perceived closeness to parents with percentages, self-reported motivation for seeking change, family atmosphere toward sexuality, number of sexual partners in the last twelve months, adult lifetime sexual partners (numbers here stunned me), comparison with a national sample, ages of sexual touching, first sexual experience, number of partners in early childhood, relationship to such partners, sexual experiences prior to age 13, first forced sexual experience after age 13, first homosexual experience after age 13. Then they report on qualitative questions and answers: reason for seeking change, what they’d like to achieve, intensity of motivation, and some questions about religious history.
Finally, they survey how to identify and measure sexual orientation. These include one or a combination of these:
Self-identification: identification by the person about their sexual orientation.
Sexual preference: self-reports about attractions.
Sexual behavior: correlation of behavior to orientation.
Single dimensions: Kinsey scale or another scale.
Multiple dimensions: Kinsey scale plus others.
Kinsey scale: 0: exclusively heterosexual; 1: largely heterosexual, but incidental homosexual; 2: largely heterosexual, but more than incidental homosexual; 3: equal amounts of heterosexual and homosexual; 4: largely homosexual, but more than incidental heterosexual; 5: largely homosexual, but incidental heterosexual; 6: exclusively homosexual.
They study Bem’s scale, Shively and DeCecco study, Klein’s study, Susan Cochran and Ronald Sell. They then provide their own set of questions to show the instrument they are using.