Same-Sex Cohabitation and Psychological Distress

Dustin C. Brown, University of Texas at Austin
Corinne Reczek, University of Cincinnati

Despite growing interest in the health of the sexual minority population in the United States, nationally representative data on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender population (GLBT) is scarce. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between psychological distress and same-sex cohabitation in the United States. We assemble a large, nationally representative sample of same sex couples pool 13 years of cross-sectional data from the National Health Interview Survey and examine differences in psychological distress among same-sex cohabiting, opposite-sex married, opposite-sex cohabiting, divorced, widowed, and never married single individuals. Preliminary analyses suggest that same-sex cohabiters experience higher levels of psychological distress than do opposite-sex married individuals. Moreover, the preliminary results suggest that socioeconomic resources do little mediate this association, particularly among non-Hispanic whites. Finally, the results suggest that differences in distress among same-sex cohabiters and opposite-sex married persons vary across gender and race-ethnicity.

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Presented in Session 24: Demography of Mental Health