Internalized Homonegativity and Relationship Quality in Same-Sex Romantic Couples: A Test of Mental Health Mechanisms and Gender as a Moderator

Kristin E Thies, Pace University


Prior research has consistently found greater internalized homonegativity to be associated with lower relationship quality for individuals in same-sex relationships. Yet, few studies have examined different dimensions of relationship quality, what mechanisms explain the association between internalized homonegativity and relationship quality, or whether the association varies for women versus men. This study sought to build upon past research to better understand the associations between internalized homonegativity and specific aspects of relationship quality in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals in same-sex relationships, while considering the potential mediating roles of symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as the potential moderating role of gender. Using data from an online survey, I conducted analyses with a sample of 97 men and 84 women who were living in the U.S., at least 18 years old, and in a same-sex relationship for at least 3 months. Regression analyses revealed that controlling for length of relationship, self and partner concealment of sexual orientation, age, gender, and partner sexual identity, internalized homonegativity was associated with greater symptoms of depression and anxiety, but not directly with dimensions of relationship quality. However, bootstrap mediation analyses revealed an indirect association of internalized homonegativity with lower relationship satisfaction through greater depressive symptoms. Gender was also an important moderator. Gender moderated the associations of internalized homonegativity with both depressive and anxiety symptoms, with those associations being significant for men but not women. Further, the indirect association of internalized homonegativity with relationship satisfaction through depressive symptoms was significant for men only. Results suggest a number of viable directions for future research to continue to understand the role of internalized homonegativity in same-sex relationships, mechanisms involved, and differences by gender. A better understanding of these dynamics can inform clinical practice and ultimately lead to improved individual and relational functioning in LGB individuals.

Subject Area

Social psychology|GLBT Studies

Recommended Citation

Thies, Kristin E, "Internalized Homonegativity and Relationship Quality in Same-Sex Romantic Couples: A Test of Mental Health Mechanisms and Gender as a Moderator" (2016). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3663337.



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