Gay and Lesbian Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory My Zimbio Blog Directory and Search engine
Lesbian Dating and Relationship Search

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Research Finds Same-Sex Couples Just as Committed and Possibly Happier than Heterosexual Couples

In a study done by Medical News Today, same-sex couples are just as committed in their romantic relationships as heterosexual couples and may be happier, say researchers who have studied the quality of adult relationships and healthy development. What they found disputes the stereotype that same-sex couples are not as committed as their heterosexual counterparts and are therefore not as psychologically healthy.

These results came from two studies featured in the January issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association. This issue includes a special section that examines sexual orientation across the lifespan.

The first study examined whether committed same-sex couples differ from engaged and married heterosexual couples in how well they interacted and how satisfied they were with their partners. Evidence has shown that positive interactions improve the quality of relationships in ways that create healthy adult development.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compared 30 gay male relationships and 30 lesbian couples with 50 engaged heterosexual couples and 40 older married heterosexual couples, as well as with dating heterosexual couples. All the partners responded to a questionnaire that documented how positively they interacted with one another on a day-to-day basis.

Results showed that all had positive views of their relationships but those in the more committed relationships (gay or straight) resolved conflict better than the heterosexual dating couples. And lesbian couples worked together especially harmoniously during the laboratory tasks and especially effective at resolving conflict.

In the second study, researchers from the University of Washington, San Diego State University and the University of Vermont wanted to examine how sexual orientation and legal status affected relationship quality. To do so, they followed 65 male and 138 female same-sex couples with civil unions, 23 male and 61 female same-sex couples not in civil unions and 55 heterosexual married couples over a three-year period. One member of each heterosexual couple was a sibling to a member of a civil union couple.

Partners in all of the couples answered questions regarding their demographics, status of their relationship, number of children, sexual behavior, frequency of contact with their parents with and without their partners and perceived social support. Partners in same-sex relationships also answered questions regarding how “out” they were with family, friends and co-workers.

Despite the legal status of their relationships, the civil union couples showed no differences on any of the relationship measures from the same-sex couples who were in committed relationships but not in civil unions.

However, the same sex-couples who were not in civil unions were more likely to have ended their relationships compared to those couples in same-sex civil unions or heterosexual marriages. Suggesting that the protections afforded by a legalized relationship may impact same-sex relationships, something the study's authors plan to follow up on with more research.

The findings also showed that same-sex couples, regardless of civil union status, were more satisfied with their relationships compared to married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married couples. They theorized that there may be societal pressures and norms, as well as the presence of legal status as a couple, which may contribute to heterosexual couples staying together even when they are not happy. Alternatively, many long-term, same-sex couples, stay together by their own will and hard work, since they don't have society's forces on their side.

This was the first study to follow same-sex couples in legalized unions over a period of time. This type of design allows the researchers to monitor changes in the relationships and compare them with changes experienced by both same-sex couples not in civil unions and heterosexual couples. All the couples were comparable with respect to race/ethnicity and age at the time of the study.

1 comment:

Simonsez TM said...

Great article - not that us lesbo's didn't already know this right? I'm new to the blog page - been blogging for years and now finally putting on a page! Looking forward to check out your page - great page!


Blog Directory, Free online web directory, Search Engine Submission - AddMe