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Individuals in Same-Sex Relationships Maintain Relational Well-Being Despite the Frequency and Severity of Heterosexism

9 December 2020

Publication Date
09 December 2020

Original Abstract

Heterosexism represents a pervasive minority stressor for sexual minority individuals; however, the research presents mixed findings on the association between heterosexism and relational dynamics. Drawing from theories of minority stress and family stress, we examined how the frequency and severity of heterosexism connect to three dimensions of relationship well-being: relationship satisfaction, relationship commitment, and relationship maintenance. We collected survey data from 262 sexual minority individuals in same-sex relationships. Results show inconsistent associations between the frequency and severity of heterosexism and relationship well-being. The interaction between the frequency and severity of heterosexism was significantly associated with relationship commitment, but not relationship satisfaction or perceived maintenance. The findings of this study suggest that those who experience strong relational well-being may be resilient to distal minority stressors like heterosexism and that the distinction between the frequency and severity of heterosexism may be more empirically meaningful for cognitive dimensions for relational well-being. Practitioners should continue to attend to the nuanced ways in which minority stress may manifest beyond the romantic relationship.

Rice, T.M., Ogolsky, B.G. & Oswald, R.F. (2020). Individuals in same-sex relationships maintain relational well-being despite the frequency and severity of heterosexism. Psychology & Sexuality. https://doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2020.1854835

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heterosexism, minority stress, discrimination, same-sex relationships, relationship quality, relationship commitment


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