The impact of perceived discrimination and social support on gay male couples
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The minority stress model (Meyer, 2003) has been proposed to explain higher rates of psychopathology in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. With a few exceptions (e.g., Otis et al., 2007), however, studies of minority stress processes have not taken into account the impact of discrimination on same-sex relationship satisfaction and processes. In the current study, 208 gay men in a romantic relationship with another man completed an online survey assessing experiences of discrimination, minority stress processes, depression, and relationship satisfaction. Men who experienced more incidents of discrimination also reported higher depression scores, and this effect was moderated by perception of the importance of these incidents. While discrimination did not have a direct effect on relationship satisfaction, indirect effects were visible through depression, which has been shown to impact relationship functioning, and gay identity. Men at a lower level of gay identity were both less likely to report being in a relationship overall and more likely to report experiences of discrimination. Results are discussed in the context of future research on same-sex relationships, perceptions of discrimination, and gay identity.