Sexual Minority Mothers: A Dyadic Exploration of Stigma, Identity, Support, and Parental Wellbeing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, transition to parenthood often increases stress, although, according to minority stress theory (MST), same-sex couples often experience additional stressors specifically related to their sexual orientation. In this study of 34 same-sex female couples (68 sexual minority mothers) who conceived their children with the use of sperm donation, we explored the intrapersonal and interpersonal influences of sexuality-related stigma, sexual identity, sexuality disclosure (“outness”), and social support on the wellbeing of each partner among these couples. We found support for MST, although the process worked differently based on the mother’s role. Among the pregnant (gestational) mothers, personal experiences of sexuality related stigma, social support, and sexual identity disclosure were all associated with their individual wellbeing. In contrast, among the non-pregnant (non-gestational) mothers, these associations were more interpersonal in nature. Specifically, the non-gestational mothers’ wellbeing was unrelated to their personal experiences of sexuality stigma but was associated with their partner’s (the gestational mother’s) reports of sexual identity centrality and affirmation and support from friends. In all, we found support for MST, such that greater sexuality stigma was associated with poorer wellbeing, but this relationship functioned differently depending on the mother’s role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-886
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume71
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology

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