Trauma exposure, discrimination, and romantic relationship functioning: A longitudinal investigation among LGB young adults

Timothy J. Sullivan, Brian A. Feinstein, Amy D. Marshall, Brian Mustanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual orientation-related discrimination is common among sexual minority individuals, but its influence on romantic relationship functioning remains unclear. Further, exposure to potentially traumatic events may influence the association between discrimination and relationship functioning, but this has not been tested among sexual minority individuals in relationships to date. The current study examines breadth of lifetime trauma exposure as a moderator of the associations between recent discrimination and changes in relationship functioning (satisfaction, commitment, and trust) over 12 months among 86 racially/ethnically diverse sexual minority young adults in relationships. For those with low trauma exposure, discrimination was associated with increases in satisfaction and commitment, but not trust. In contrast, for those with high trauma exposure, discrimination was not associated with changes in relationship functioning. Thus, some partnered sexual minority young adults may experience resilience in the face of discrimination, such that discrimination may promote positive relationship functioning. However, this does not appear to extend to those with more extensive trauma exposure histories. With an eye toward informing interventions, these findings call for additional research on individual differences in responses to discrimination, such as support seeking and dyadic coping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-490
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)

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