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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 473451, 8 pages
Research Article

Toward Global Comparability of Sexual Orientation Data in Official Statistics: A Conceptual Framework of Sexual Orientation for Health Data Collection in New Zealand’s Official Statistics System

1Department of Public Health, University of Otago, P.O. Box 7343, Wellington, New Zealand
2Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3Statistics Research Associates Ltd., 8 Bristol Street, Island Bay, Wellington 6023, New Zealand
4Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2569-2136 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
5Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, 50 Beale Street, Suite 1300, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
6Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, The Bellet Building, 1505 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA

Received 23 January 2013; Revised 14 May 2013; Accepted 24 May 2013

Academic Editor: Emilia Lombardi

Copyright © 2013 Frank Pega et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Effectively addressing health disparities experienced by sexual minority populations requires high-quality official data on sexual orientation. We developed a conceptual framework of sexual orientation to improve the quality of sexual orientation data in New Zealand’s Official Statistics System. Methods. We reviewed conceptual and methodological literature, culminating in a draft framework. To improve the framework, we held focus groups and key-informant interviews with sexual minority stakeholders and producers and consumers of official statistics. An advisory board of experts provided additional guidance. Results. The framework proposes working definitions of the sexual orientation topic and measurement concepts, describes dimensions of the measurement concepts, discusses variables framing the measurement concepts, and outlines conceptual grey areas. Conclusion. The framework proposes standard definitions and concepts for the collection of official sexual orientation data in New Zealand. It presents a model for producers of official statistics in other countries, who wish to improve the quality of health data on their citizens.