Coping with minority stress in the intimate relationships of lesbian women, gay men, and bisexuals.

01 January 2016 → 31 December 2016
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Queer studies
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Behavioural sciences
Minority stress sexual health couple distress partner sexual orientation LGBT
Project description

Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination create a stressful social environment that can lead to mental health problems in lesbian women, gay men, and bisexuals (i.e. LGBs) as well as lower intimate relationship satisfaction. But how exactly do those minority specific stressors influence intimate relationship characteristics? As visibility management (i.e. the ongoing process by which LGBs make decisions about whether they will disclose their sexual orientation) has been identified as a coping strategy aimed at minimizing stigma, we want to explore if being open or closed about one’ sexual orientation explains the association between minority specific stressors and relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, as dyadic coping (i.e., the way couples cope together with stress) is highly predictive for relationship functioning, it might also act as a buffer against the negative consequences of minority stress. In our project, we aim to develop a theory that combines the minority stress model with dyadic coping models in order to offer a more comprehensive view on the impact of minority stress on stigmatized relationships. The study will also contribute to investigating the relationship between social structures (and how they are manifested in the immediate context of thought, feeling, and action) on the one hand and interpersonal intimate relationships on the other.