Theses Doctoral

The Association Between Access to Marriage Rights and the Well-Being of White Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals in the United States.

Forquer, Erin Elizabeth

The present study aimed to examine factors related to having access to marriage rights among same-sex couples (N = 221). Having access to, or being denied access to, marriage rights in participants' state of residence was the predictive variable of interest. Well-being, social support, gay-related stress and relationship satisfaction were factors of interest, with well-being the primary outcome variable of interest. While there has been a significant amount of research conducted over the past 15 years which has found discrimination against lesbians, gays and bisexuals [LGBs] to be prevalent (Herek & Sims, 2007; Meyer, 2003), and linked to a direct negative impact on LGBs psychological and physical well-being (Balsam, Rothblum & Beauchaine, 2005), little research has been done to examine the impact of institutional discrimination, such as marriage laws. This study utilized constructs measuring experiences of discrimination, couples' access to social support, relationship satisfaction, and overall well-being, as research has suggested that marriage impacts a couple's access to social support from family and larger community networks, which has been found to be associated with overall well-being and relationship satisfaction (Gove et al., 2005). This dissertation attempts to make a contribution to an emerging but primarily understudied area of research by providing insight into the experiences of same-sex couples. Primary hypotheses tested were whether access (or denial) to marriage rights impacts gay-related stress, relationship satisfaction, one's access to social support within their relationship, and how these variables are associated with one's overall well-being.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Carter, Robert T.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 10, 2014