Examining Minority Stress, Dyadic Coping, and Internalizing Symptoms Among Male Same-Sex Couples Using Actor–Partner Interdependence Models

Elissa L. Sarno*, Camille Bundy, Christina Dyar, Michael E. Newcomb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Minority stress processes have been consistently linked to increased internalizing symptoms among sexual minority individuals. However, very little research has studied the impact of minority stress on the mental health of same-sex couples. The present study examined associations of actor and partner heterosexist microaggressions and internalized heterosexism with internalizing symptoms, moderated by dyadic coping, among male same-sex couples. Participants were 774 men who have sex with men (387 dyads). Results of actor–partner interdependence models showed that actor, but not partner, minority stress was positively associated with internalizing symptoms. Dyadic coping moderated the association of actor heterosexist microaggressions on internalizing symptoms such that for those who engaged in more dyadic coping, the association of heterosexist microaggressions with internalizing symptoms was weaker. Dyadic coping also moderated the association of partner internalized heterosexism on internalizing symptoms. For those who engaged in more dyadic coping, their partner’s internalized heterosexism was associated with greater internalizing symptoms. Although dyadic coping may buffer the effects of minority stress on internalizing symptoms, if partners rely too heavily on one another to cope with stress, it may be detrimental to their mental health. Implications for relationship education interventions for same-sex couples are discussed

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-525
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • anxiety
  • couples
  • depression
  • minority stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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