Trauma exposure, discrimination, and romantic relationship functioning

A longitudinal investigation among LGB young adults

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

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 1 2017

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young adult
trauma
Young Adult
discrimination
Wounds and Injuries
minority
Individuality
Sexual Behavior
commitment
Sexual Minorities
sexual orientation
moderator
Research
resilience
coping
event
history
experience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)
  • Gender Studies

Cite this

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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.",
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Trauma exposure, discrimination, and romantic relationship functioning : A longitudinal investigation among LGB young adults. / Sullivan, Timothy J.; Feinstein, Brian A.; Marshall, Amy Dyanna; Mustanski, Brian.

In: Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, Vol. 4, No. 4, 01.12.2017, p. 481-490.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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