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Perceived emotional support from family and friends in members of homosexual, married, and heterosexual cohabiting couples.

Research paper by L A LA Kurdek, J P JP Schmitt

Indexed on: 01 Jan '87Published on: 01 Jan '87Published in: Journal of homosexuality



Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that influenced perceptions of emotional support from friends and family in members of gay, lesbian, married, and heterosexual cohabiting couples. Both the individual partner and the couple were used as units of analysis. Using the individual partner scores, perceived emotional support was related to Type of Couple (married perceived more emotional support from family than did gays and lesbians); Sex-Role Self-Concept (undifferentiated individuals perceived the least emotional support from both friends and family); and Source of Support (friends were perceived to provide more emotional support than family). Gays and lesbians, in particular, perceived more emotional support from friends than from family. Individuals reporting high degrees of emotional support from friends were less psychologically distressed than those reporting low degrees of emotional support from friends. Using the couple scores, the above Type of Couple and Source of Support effects were replicated. In addition, partner differences were obtained only in married couples in which wives perceived more emotional support than husbands. Results are discussed in terms of current research in the area of social support.