Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 143–158 | Cite as

Bisexual Women’s Experience of Microaggressions and Microaffirmations: A Community-Based, Mixed-Methods Scale Development Project

  • Corey E. FlandersEmail author
  • Marianne LeBreton
  • Margaret Robinson
Special Section: Bisexual Health


In order to better serve bisexual women, clinicians and researchers need tools that accurately reflect and capture bisexual women’s experiences of stigma and affirmation. These tools are essential as research indicates that bisexual women experience poorer mental health than either heterosexual or lesbian women. Our community-based study developed and psychometrically evaluated the Bisexual Microaggression and Microaffirmation Scales for Women (BMMS-W). We held focus groups and advisory committee meetings with bisexual women to identify common experiences of microaggressions and microaffirmations and drafted over 200 potential survey items. Exploratory factor analysis of data from 382 participants across Canada and the U.S. yielded five microaggression factors (dismissal; mistrust; sexualization; social exclusion; and denial of complexity) and four microaffirmation factors (acceptance; social support; recognition of bisexuality and biphobia; and emotional support). Confirmatory factor analysis of data from a separate sample of 323 participants across Canada and the U.S. tested the model. The development of the BMMS-W responds to calls to examine the distinctiveness of bisexual women’s experience and gives mental health service providers and researchers a tool to better understand their experiences.


Bisexuality Microaggression Microaffirmation Community-based research Scale development 



Funding was provided by Women’s College Hospital.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corey E. Flanders
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marianne LeBreton
    • 2
  • Margaret Robinson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and EducationMount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA
  2. 2.Educational and Counseling PsychologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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