Romantic relationships and sexual minority health: A review and description of the Dyadic Health Model

Michael E. Newcomb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A large body of literature has documented the health promotive effects of healthy committed relationships on the health and wellbeing of heterosexual people in different-sex relationships, including observational and longitudinal studies, couple-based intervention development and evaluation efforts, and articulation of theoretical frameworks. A much smaller but growing field of research has observed that same-sex relationships have similar effects on health outcomes but that these couples face unique stressors that may impact relationship functioning and health. Further, extant theoretical frameworks do not sufficiently address the multiple pathways by which psychosocial vulnerabilities and stressors impact same-sex relationship functioning, engagement in health-related risk behaviors, and the mental and physical health of sexual minorities in relationships. The purpose of this manuscript is to: a) review the existing literature on relationship functioning and health among sexual minorities, including both observational and intervention studies; and b) present an integrated model of relationship functioning and health for same-sex couples that can be used as a basis for further studies on sexual minority dyads, as well as the development of novel couple-based interventions to optimize the health promoting effects of relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101924
JournalClinical Psychology Review
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Couple-based interventions
  • Minority stress
  • Romantic relationships
  • Same-sex couples
  • Sexual minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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