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J Fam Psychol. 2014 Aug;28(4):437-47. doi: 10.1037/a0037171. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Gender minority stress, mental health, and relationship quality: a dyadic investigation of transgender women and their cisgender male partners.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology.
2
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Delaware.
4
Public Health Institute.
5
Brown University School of Public Health.

Abstract

Research has demonstrated associations between experiences of discrimination, relationship quality, and mental health. However, critical questions remain unanswered with regard to how stigma enacted and experienced at the dyadic-level influences relationship quality and mental health for transgender women and their cisgender (nontransgender) male partners. The present study sought to examine how experiences of transgender-related discrimination (i.e., unfair treatment, harassment) and relationship stigma (i.e., the real or anticipated fear of rejection based on one's romantic affiliation) were associated with both partners relationship quality and mental health. Couples (n = 191) were recruited to participate in cross-sectional survey. Dyadic analyses using actor-partner interdependence models were conducted to examine the influence of minority stressors on clinically significant depressive distress and relationship quality. For both partners, financial hardship, discrimination, and relationship stigma were associated with an increased odds of depressive distress. For both partners, financial hardship was associated with lower relationship quality. Among transgender women, their own and their partner's higher relationship stigma scores were associated with lower relationship quality; however, among male partners, only their partner's greater relationship stigma scores were associated with lower relationship quality. Findings provide preliminary support for dyadic crossover effects of relationship stigma on the health of partners. Findings illustrate the importance of minority stress and dyadic stress frameworks in understanding and intervening upon mental health disparities among transgender women and their male partners. Couples-based interventions and treatment approaches to help transgender women and their male partners cope with minority stressors are warranted to improve the health and well-being of both partners.

PMID:
24932942
PMCID:
PMC4122619
DOI:
10.1037/a0037171
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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