Anticipatory Minority Stressors among Same-sex Couples: A Relationship Timeline Approach.

Academic Article


  • The authors build on previous stress theories by drawing attention to the concept of anticipatory couple-level minority stressors (i.e., stressors expected to occur in the future that emanate from the stigmatization of certain relationship forms). A focus on anticipatory couple-level minority stressors brings with it the potential for important insight into vulnerabilities and resiliencies of people in same-sex relationships, the focus of this study. The authors use relationship timelines to examine stressors among a diverse sample of same-sex couples (n = 120). Respondents in same-sex relationships anticipated stressors that are likely not unique to same-sex couples (e.g., purchasing a home together) but labeled many of these anticipatory stressors as reflecting the stigmatization of their same-sex relationship. Respondents rated anticipatory minority stressors as more stressful than other anticipatory stressors. Moreover, stressors varied by gender, age, and relationship duration although not race/ethnicity or geographic site. This analysis is a preliminary step in examining how unique anticipatory couple-level minority stressors function as determinants of relationship quality, mental and physical health, and health disparities faced by sexual minority populations. Attempts to understand current stress levels should consider anticipatory stressors alongside past and current life events, chronic strains, daily hassles, and minority stressors, as these processes are impossible to disentangle and may be consequential for current well-being.
  • Published In


  • family, gender and sexuality, mental health, sexuality, stigma
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Thomeer MB; LeBlanc AJ; Frost DM; Bowen K
  • Start Page

  • 126
  • End Page

  • 148
  • Volume

  • 81
  • Issue

  • 2