Stress is common in all kinds of marriages, but same-sex couples are able to deal with it better together.
This is according to a study – “Dyadic coping and marital quality in same-sex and different-sex marriages” by Yiwen Wang and Debra Umberson – that was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
For this study, the researchers analyzed responses of 419 couples on dyadic coping (i.e. coping as a couple) in both same-sex and different-sex marriages. They found that same-sex spouses were more positive and were more collaborative in handling stress compared to their counterparts, which may stem from links between gender and coping strategies – e.g. women married to men said that their spouses were more ambivalent and hostile in responding to stress compared to women married to women.
The researchers believe that the key to the dyadic coping of same-sex couples is their ability to work together to deal with stress, actually using similarities in stress responses, as well as shared gender-related experiences.
According to Debra Umberson, a co-author of this study, coping with stress collaboratively may even be more important for same-sex couples because they are less likely to have familial and institutional support.
“Including same-sex spouses and looking at how they work with each other to manage stress as compared to different-sex spouses can help us better understand the ways in which gender dynamics unfold in marriages,” she said. “Same-sex couples face unique stressors related to discrimination and stigma. Coping as a couple may be especially important for them as they do not receive as much support from extended family, friends or institutions as different-sex couples do.”