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date: 10 December 2022

Stress and Coping in Sexual and Gender Minority Relationshipslocked

Stress and Coping in Sexual and Gender Minority Relationshipslocked

  • Steven Samrock, Steven SamrockArizona State University
  • Kai KlineKai KlineArizona State University
  •  and Ashley K. RandallAshley K. RandallCounseling and Counseling Psychology, Arizona State University


LGBTQ+ is an inclusive term used to encompass sexual and gender minority individuals in aspects of their diversity related to sexual and gender expression. Specifically, LGBTQ+ refers to individuals who may identify as lesbian (L), gay (G), bisexual (B), transgender (T), queer (Q), or other sexual and/or gender identities (+). Given that many individuals live in heteronormative and cisnormative societies, the LGBTQ+ community experiences unique stressors specific to their traditionally marginalized identity/identities; such experiences are defined as experiences of minority stress. Aspects of minority stress, including stigma, prejudice, and discrimination, generate stressful social environments for LGBTQ+ individuals and these experiences are often negatively associated with individual and relationship well-being. For example, if an individual experiences harassment for their sexual and/or gender identity, they may experience feelings of distress and be more reserved with public displays of affection with their partner. As such, one romantic partner’s experience of minority stress can impact both they and their partner’s experiences.

Relationship maintenance behaviors, such as communicating and coping with the stress together with one’s partner (dyadic coping), have been identified that may help mitigate minority stress’ deleterious effects. Dyadic coping is a process that conceptualizes how partners cope with stress in the context of their relationship, identifying how partners communicate their stress and the respective coping behaviors. Finally, there has been an insurgence of relationship education programs designed to help LGBTQ+ couples identify and cope with experiences of minority stress. For example, the Couples Coping Enhancement Training–Sexual Minority Stress incorporates the unique experiences of sexual minority couples to help couples improve (minority) stress management; enhance their ability to cope as a couple; sensitize both partners to ideas of mutual fairness, equity, and respect; improve communication; and improve (emotional) problem-solving skills.


  • Gender (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies)

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