Minority Stress Gray APA2006

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Published on August 8, 2007

Author: Wanderer

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Slide1:  Minority Stress Experiences in Committed Same-Sex Couple Relationships Barry E. Gray, Ed.S., Roxanna Hatton, Ed.S., Sharon S. Rostosky, Ph.D., andamp; Ellen D. B. Riggle, Ph.D. METHOD Procedures Each couple member was given a set of conversation prompts to use in a guided discussion. Sample prompts included: 'What does commitment mean to you?' and 'How do you know that you are in a committed relationship?' Other prompts asked couples to discuss encounters with disapproval of their relationship and perceptions of their families support or lack of support. Data Analyses Consensual Qualitative Research Methods (Hill, Thompson, andamp; Williams, 1997; Hill, et al, 2005) were used to perform the data analyses. A team of two graduate students coded all forty transcripts. The third author served as the auditor for the project. BACKGROUND Committed relationships of same-sex couples are created and maintained in a social context characterized by stigma and discrimination. The minority stress model (Brooks, 1981; Meyer 1995; 2003) is a conceptual framework for understanding the negative effects on psychosocial health and well-being that are caused by a stigmatizing social context. Minority stress is the chronic and social stress that results from belonging to a stigmatized social category and is over and above the general stressors of daily life. The four factors of minority stress are experiences of discrimination, anticipated rejection, hiding and concealing their identities, and dealing with internalized homonegativity. In response to these four factors, LGB individuals develop coping strategies, the fifth factor in the model (Meyer, 2003). RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTITIONERS The findings in this study illustrate some of the common manifestations of minority stress in the everyday lives of same-sex couples. Even typical presenting problems that couples bring to therapy may be conceptualized within a minority stress framework. When working with same-sex couples, psychologists should attend to: the specific minority stress factors the dilemma of disclosure access to social support couples’ strengths and coping resources fostering social justice through training and advocacy. CONCLUSIONS Same-sex couples have a right to psychological services that affirm their partnership and their families of choice and that understand the sociopolitical context in which same-sex couples create and maintain their relationships (Green andamp; Mitchell, 2002). While psychologists can help same-sex couples to mobilize their resources and enact effective coping strategies, ultimately, changes in the cultural, political and social context that validates rather than stigmatizes LGB identities and same-sex relationships will be necessary for optimal well-being. ACKOWLEDGEMENTS This research was funded by the American Psychological Foundation’s Wayne F. Placek Award (200) and a 2002 University of Kentucky Summer Faculty Fellowship to the third author. We thank Beth Goldstein, PhD for providing initial consultation and support for this project. For serving as project coordinators, Todd Savage, PhD, Ashley Reed, MS, and Cyndey Jackson, MS. For help with data collection we thank Gina Owens, PhD and Robert A. Prather, BA. For transcribing the data we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Marc Frisiello, EdS. To all members of PRISM (Psychosocial Research Initiative on Sexual Minorities at www.prismresearch.org) we say thank you for your energy and enthusiasm. Finally, we thank the couples who generously shared their lives with us, thereby profoundly enriching our own. Please address correspondence concerning this study to Sharon S. Rostosky, PhD, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, 245 Dickey Hall, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0017. E-mail: rostosk@uky.edu. For the complete article: Rostosky, S. S., Riggle, E. D. B., Gray, B. E., andamp; Hatton, R. L. (2006). Minority Stress Experiences in Committed Same-Sex Couples. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. In press. UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY Department of Educational andamp; Counseling Psychology

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