Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


The Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health

First Advisor

Melinda Forthofer


Sexual minority identified (SMI) women have an amplified risk for risky health behaviors and chronic health conditions. Current research on mechanisms related to health disparities in SMI women is limited. Research targeting SMI women has relied on small, convenience samples to address health disparities. Due to the nature of this population, probability sampling methods are ineffective and inefficient and cost prohibitive. The purpose of this dissertation was threefold. First, we examined the current state of literature to gain insight on prevalent sampling strategies used to access SMI women for health-related research. Second, we compared the efficacy of two sampling strategies, convenience sampling and respondent-driven sampling, for recruiting SMI women for a health survey. Finally, we examined the prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and associations with minority stressors.

We found that the majority of recent health studies have used non-probability, convenience sampling techniques to reach sexual minority identified women. This finding supported our second aim, examining the efficacy of respondent-driven sampling for recruiting SMI women for health research. Unfortunately, we had limited success garnering a sufficient sample size using respondent-driven sampling. The shortcomings we experienced using respondent-driven sampling were likely due to modifications made to the sampling method. Finally, we did not observe any associations between cardiometabolic risk factors and minority stressors in this sample of sexual minority identified women. Low prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors and homogeneity of the sample likely contributed to the lack of observable associations. Future research among SMI women should focus on improving sampling methodology, intentionally working towards reaching a more diverse sample of women.


© 2018, Sarah M. Piperato

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