Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Homosexuality, 2017

doi 10.1080/00918369.2017.1407612


Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Happy marriages provide protective health benefits, and social support is a key factor in this association. However, previous research indicates one of the greatest differences between same-and different-sex couples is less social support for same-sex couples. Our goal was to examine the extent to which formal markers of couple status (e.g., marriage) impact wellbeing among same-sex married partners. Using a mixed-methods approach, data were collected from 218 primarily White gay and lesbian individuals in the Midwest. Quantitative analysis revealed individuals in a prior formal union with a different-sex partner reported the lowest levels of sexuality specific social support and acceptance. Qualitative analysis revealed four primary impacts of marriage on support from family, friends, and co-workers: no change, increased support, decreased support, and a synthesis of mixed support. Three mechanisms prompting change in the family were identified and are presented.