Daily Stressor Exposure and Daily Well-Being among Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Adults in the United States: Results from the National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE)

Britney M. Wardecker, Agus Surachman, Jes L. Matsick, David M. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Daily stress plays a significant role in mental and physical health. Negative mood (e.g., hopelessness) and physical symptoms (e.g., headaches) are responses often associated with daily stressors. It is theorized that some people or populations are more vulnerable or reactive to daily stressors. We propose sexual orientation as one factor that is associated with daily stress exposure and reactivity. Purpose: To understand whether sexual minorities (SMs) differ from heterosexuals in their exposure and reactivity to general, non-sexual minority-specific stressors (e.g., arguments/disagreements, job concerns). Methods: We used daily diary data (n = 3,323 heterosexuals [52% identified as female and 85% identified as White]; n = 98 SMs [50% identified as female and 93% identified as White]) from the National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE). Participants completed eight consecutive evening daily diary interviews (n days = 24,773; mean days completed = 7.24) and reported daily stress exposure and daily well-being. We used multilevel modeling as an approach to examine whether sexual orientation interacted with daily stressors to predict daily negative affect and physical health. Results: SMs tended to experience more daily stressors compared to heterosexuals; specifically, SMs reported at least one stressor on nearly half (48%) of the study days they completed, and heterosexuals reported at least one stressor on about two-fifths (41%) of the study days they completed. SMs also tended to experience more negative mood when they experienced a daily stressor compared to heterosexuals when they experienced a daily stressor. Conclusion: We emphasize the importance of SMs' exposure and reactivity to general daily stressors and the implications of our results for the day-To-day lives and health of SMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-550
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume56
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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