This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Minority Stress, Relationship Satisfaction, and Psychological Distress in Same-Gender Relationships




Ballester, Edward

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


I tested hypothesized relationships between sexual minority stress theory (Brooks, 1981; Meyer 1995), Bodenmann’s (1995) stress-divorce-model, and Cohen’s social support/stress buffering hypotheses by using hierarchical multiple regression analysis, Variables of interest included perceived stigma, internalized stigma, outness, relationship satisfaction, and psychological distress, as well as if relationship satisfaction buffered the effects of minority stress on psychological distress. Perceived stigma, outness, and relationship satisfaction were not significant predictors of psychological distress, but internalized stigma was a significant predictor of psychological distress (β = .37) and may be a key target for clinical interventions at individual, group, and macro-levels, which are reviewed in Chapter 5. Relationship satisfaction did not buffer the effects of minority stress on psychological distress. Although there were several significant bivariate relationships between demographic variables and psychological distress, cohabitating was the only demographic variable that remained significant throughout regression analyses, specifically those who lived together reported higher psychological distress (β = .17) than those who did not. Future research might benefit from including measures of discrimination and concealment or strategic outness; using other measures of perceived stigma, psychological distress, and relationship satisfaction (or another measure of social support) for those in same-gender relationships; expanding to longitudinal designs to understand changes over time between minority stressors like internalized stigma and psychological distress; conducting in-person surveys to reduce the likelihood of bots and fraudulent responses, or having countermeasures in place for online surveys; recruiting a representative sample of those in same-gender relationships, and exploring how participant identities interact with sexual orientation, minority stressors, and psychological distress.