Abstract: This qualitative feminist ethnography of ten lesbian 'stepfamilies' in the Pacific Northwest uses a grounded theory approach in examining questions of lesbian family creation and co-parenting. Detailed portraits of four of these families include the voices of all family members creating parenthood and family in a context of lesbian community and societal heterosexism. I chose 'stepfamilies' because most of the research today focuses on 'intentional' families where children are often conceived through alternative insemination. My research suggests that there are significant differences in the process of creating family, and parenthood for partners, in these two kinds of families. This dissertation suggests that not all partners of lesbian mothers become parents. For partners to achieve parenthood, birth mothers must relinquish sole authority over children, children must establish relationships with partners and acknowledge their authority, and partners must establish an identity as a parent. These families participate in social trends that include increased numbers of female-headed families, and ideological changes emphasizing emotional bonds and choice in creating kinship. Meanings of 'parent' and 'family' are contested within the microcosm of the family unit, and within a sociohistorical context of shifting family demographics and ideology, and social movements such as feminism, gay liberation, and self-development. I found that lesbians and their children both appropriate and transform the Euro-American ideal of the heterosexual, two-parent nuclear family. In claiming parenthood, the non-biological lesbian parent represents a significant departure from the Euro-American ideal of family because she (usually) has no legal or biological ties to the children. This is particularly apparent where lesbian meanings of parent and family clash with a judicial system that continues to deny custody to lesbian mothers, and refuses to acknowledge partners' petitions for joint custody or visitation when couples break up. Because their existence poses a fundamental challenge to heterosexual, biological models of kinship in the United States, I suggest lesbian families be placed at the center of the feminist discourse on family.
Angeel DS (1997). Personality characteristics of adoptive vs non-parenting gay male couples. Ph.D. Thesis, California Institute Of Integral Studies, DAI Vol. 5907B, p. 3751, 109 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to compare select personality characteristics of gay male couples choosing to become parents through adoption in comparison to gay male couples choosing not to become parents. Twenty-five Parenting couples (50 subjects) and twenty-five Non-Parenting couples (50 subjects) from across the United States were surveyed using the Edward Personal Preference Schedule and the Rotters Internal-External Locus of Control Scale. Subjects were given a packet containing these instruments and a Demographic Questionnaire to obtain information on age, ethnicity, religious affiliation, annual household income, number of siblings, birth order, adoption history, relationship length, and the sex, current age, age when adopted and ethnicity of any children adopted. Eleven Parenting couples (21 subjects) and ten gay male Non-Parenting couples (20 subjects) completed and returned the materials. The aim of this study was to gain descriptive data of personality traits of gay males choosing to bring children into their family and gay males choosing not to become parents. Data was analyzed according to mean scores representing personality traits measured by the EPPS for Parenting and Non-Parenting groups using the t-test procedure. This analysis indicated that gay male Parenting couples had higher a mean on the trait of Order and Succorance while Non-Parenting couples had higher means on the traits of Change, Exhibition, and Autonomy. According to demographic data from the samples used in this study the partners in a typical gay male Parenting couple are white, 36 years of age, has a religious affiliation, earns an annual household income over 100,000 dollars, has two or more siblings, is a middle child, is likely to have a history of adoption in the family and has been in their relationship longer than ten years. The typical Non-Parenting gay male couple is also white, 36 years old, has no religious affiliation, earns an annual household income between 61,000 and 80,000 dollars, has two or more siblings, is the last born, has no history of adoption in the family and has been in the relationship between 4 and 10 years. There was no significant difference between the groups on scores for the Rotter I.E. Scale.
Aronson JM (1996). Relationship stability: a qualitative psychological study of long-term gay male couples. Ph.D. Thesis, Boston College, DAI Vol. 57-09A, p. 3822, 164 pages.
Abstract: This study investigated factors associated with stable relationships among twelve gay male couples who had been together for a minimum of fifteen years and had not reared children together. Each partner of the participating couples was interviewed separately in a semi-structured retrospective interview that assessed the impact of selected factors during the beginning phase (the first 5 years), the middle phase (years 5-10), and the most recent phase (beyond 10 years) of the relationship. The interpersonal dynamics between the partners and the influences of several sociocultural factors were explored. Each interview was audiotaped and transcribed. Interview data were coded and analyzed independently by two raters for themes relevant to relationship quality and stability. In all cases, the raters reached consensual agreement. The interrater reliability was.87 for 96 core items that were common to this and previous studies and.85 for 30 items developed specifically for this study. HyperRESEARCH software was used to organize the interview data. Seventeen themes emerged from the data.
Early relationship themes were initial attraction, establishing a commitment, relationship expectations, early adjustments, and family reactions. Interpersonal themes were communication, roles in the relationship, relatedness, satisfaction, and stability. Sociocultural themes were finances, religion, race and ethnicity, social supports, societal attitudes, models for the relationship, and the AIDS epidemic. Five developmental phases common to participants' relationships were also identified. The findings were compared to those obtained with long-term heterosexual and lesbian couples. The clinical implications of the findings were also considered.
Many of the long-term gay male relationships in this study were marked by significant conflict and poor communication during the middle phase. Negotiation of this period was a critical developmental task that led to enhanced commitment and satisfaction during the later years of the relationship. Other characteristics common to participants' relationships were mutual decision-making, role complementarity, and non-monogamy. Social supports were found to impact positively upon many relationships, while the effects of the AIDS epidemic were varied and complex.
Beers JR (1996). The desire to parent in gay men. Ph.D. Thesis, Columbia University, DAI Vol. 57-05B, p. 3429, 189 pages.
Abstract: The desire to parent in gay men was examined using 88 self-identified gay men who were not parents. There were 45 participants (51%) who indicated a desire to parent (Group I) and 43 participants (49%) who indicated a non-desire to parent (Group II). Group I showed more resolution on Erikson's stages of psychosocial development (as measured by the Modified Erikson Psychosocial Inventory), significantly differing on the stages of Autonomy, Initiative, Intimacy, Generativity, and Integrity.
Significant differences between Group I and Group II were found in their stage of Gay Identity Formation (as measured by the Homosexual Identity Questionnaire), with Group I in the final stage (Identity Synthesis) and Group II in the fourth stage (Identity Acceptance). No differences were found between the two groups in retrospective reports of their parents' childraising behaviors (as measured by the Parent-Child Relations Questionnaire II), in field dependence/independence (as measured by the Group Embedded Figures Test), and no interactions between remembrance of parents' childraising behaviors and field dependence/independence were found. Significant post hoc differences showed Group I being more likely to be open about their sexual orientation with their employer, more likely to have anticipated being fathers when they were children, more likely to have experienced change in their interest in raising a child, more likely to feel that their HIV status or general health status would affect their decision to raise a child, and they had more current involvement with children than Group II. Group II showed significantly more concern than Group I with the impact that parenting might have on their careers, social lives, relationship with a significant other, and felt a relationship was necessary if they were to raise a child. Group II's sexual orientation affected their feelings about raising children significantly more than Group I. Group II was also more likely to have experienced the death of their father.
Browning C (1996). Probing themes of silence on lesbian partner abuse: exploring the community’s influence. M.A. Thesis, Carleton University, MAI Vol. 34:06, p. 2255, 189 pages, ISBN: 0-612-08880-4.
Abstract by author: A tradition of silence has, and continues to constrain research on abuse in lesbian communities. This academic and community-based silence has limited the definitions, terminology, theories, and themes on lesbian partner abuse. While concern has been raised about individual actions and silence in the academy, this research establishes the role of community in mediating lesbians’ individual and social experiences of silence and silencing abused lesbians. This thesis explores community’s influence on silence and abused lesbians’ identification with community. It concludes that community-inclusive theories and community-generated awareness, systems, and resources are crucial to breaking the tradition of silence on lesbian partner abuse.
Cavanaugh DA Jr (1997). The creation of a relationship enhancement curriculum for gay male couples. California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 36:04, p. 1186, 122 pages.
Abstract by author: This project involved the creation of a relationship enhancement program for gay male couples designed to: (a) educate gay male couples about the stages of a gay relationship, including what problems or issues may occur; (b) provide gay couples with positive role models; © improve communication within the relationship; (d) defuse common problems or issues encountered by gay couples; and (e) build social support networks. Working within a prevention framework, a seven session curriculum was created. The curriculum includes: (a) the teaching of a communication technique; (b) education about the six stages of male coupling, which has received support in empirical and clinical writings; © modeling by the presenters of the curriculum, to further illustrate the stages and to provide positive role models; (d) practicing the communication technique using the six areas of conflict, identified from the literature, which can cause gay couples to seek counseling; and (e) time for group process.
Chabot JM (1998). Transition to parenthood: lesbian couples’ experiences with donor insemination. Ph.D. Thesis, Michigan State University, DAI Vol. 59:10A, p. 3976, 181 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to examine the decisions and issues lesbian couples face as they utilize donor insemination (DI) as a means to become parents. The goals were to identify the major decisions involved with this process, as well as to describe the transition to parenthood for lesbian families. Ten lesbian couples who have at least one child conceived through DI, or were in the process of trying to conceive, while they have been a couple, were interviewed. Seven of the couples interviewed are parents, two were pregnant with their first child, and one couple was in the process of trying to conceive at the time of the interview. Three theoretical foundations guided the study: human ecology theory with a focus on decision making, family development theory and feminist theory. This study was conducted utilizing qualitative methodologies. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews with each couple, and through two observations of a lesbian mothers’ support group. The interview questions were guided by the research questions, the literature review, the theoretical foundations, and pilot studies. Analysis of the data revealed two key findings: intentionality and legitimacy. The process of becoming parents for lesbian couples is highly intentional. This intentionality was illustrated by the development of a decision making model based on the experiences shared by the sample. Second, the issue of legitimacy was evident as these families sought validation as a family unit from environmental systems including their family of origin, their work environment, the medical community, and the legal system. This study has pedagogical and clinical implications, as well as implications for gay male families.
Cimino M-J (1996). Sexual interaction inventory: - establishing norms for lesbian and gay couples. MSC Thesis, Texas Women's University, MAI Vol. 35-01, p. 353, 125 pages.
Abstract: The investigator could find no studies in which norms for gay and lesbian couples have been established based upon LoPiccolo and Steger's (1974) Sexual Interaction Inventory (SII). The purpose of the study was to establish those norms through modification of the instrument. A hypothesis was developed in which lesbian couples, gay couples, and the established standards were compared on the SII.
Subjects for the study were solicited through convenience and snowball sampling methods. Packets were distributed to couples by mail. Validity and reliability were presented for the original Sexual Interaction Inventory by LoPiccolo and Steger (1974). The Multivariate t-test was chosen for the analysis of these data. Some statistically significant differences were found among lesbian couples, between lesbian and gay couples, and between lesbian and gay couples and the original, non-clinical norms.
Connolly CM (1998). Lesbian couples: a qualitative study of strengths and resilient factors in long-term relationships. Ph.D. Thesis, St. Mary's University, DAI Vol. 59:07A, p. 2358, 269 pages.
Abstract by author: Factors of strength, resiliency, and longevity were explored with 10 long-term lesbian couples together for 10 or more years. Average relationship length was 18 years. The couples were jointly interviewed using a combined feminist, ethnographic, and phenomenological methodology. Follow-up interviews allowed for clarifying, collapsing, redefining, and shifting themes within the emerging process. The couples’ experiences centered on two major themes: connection and resources. The distinct themes of connection and resources were interrelated in that the available resources supported and enhanced the couples’ connection. Themes of connection are defined as those factors that are felt to strengthen the bonds between the two partners. Mutual sharing of values, interests, goals, relational history and friendship, and similarities in life stages were important in the couples’ connection. Couples expressed a personal dedication and prioritizing of the relationship that also involved commitment and empowerment. Feelings of interdependence included love, physical intimacy, relationship renewal, and the maintenance of a relational balance. The second major theme, resources, consisted of both interpersonal and external resources. These factors increased the couples’ ability to create new and unique ways of maintaining the relationship without traditional guideposts. Interpersonal resources involved three areas: communication competence, coping skills, and innovation. Competence in communication included the ability to effectively compromise, negotiate, and manage conflict. The couples spoke of different yet complementary approaches to communication, and they used humor, laughter, and the nonverbal elements of romance, caring gestures, and intuitiveness to enhance their communication competence. Coping skills necessary to negotiate internal and external stress involved the use of a positive perspective, determination, reconnection, and flexibility in maintaining the relationship. In addition to the universal elements of coping, descriptions of negotiating the lesbian identity in an often unfriendly environment are included. These 10 couples described innovative ways of approaching roles, tasks, finances, rituals, and spirituality that suited their unique couple needs. Finally, external resources, such as family, friends, role models, and community, were considered very important support structures in these long-term relationships. Thus, the connection and the maximization of resource opportunities were reported as sources of strength and resiliency for the 10 long-term lesbian couples interviewed.
Cruz JM (1996). Domestic violence in same-sex relationships. M.S. Thesis, University of North Texas, MAI Vol. 34-06, p. 2255, 72 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this study is to examine domestic violence as it occurs in same-sex male relationships. Data were collected by in-depth interviews with twenty-five gay males, who were between the ages of 23 and 43, and who had previous experience being in a homosexual relationship where domestic violence was present.
The major findings of this study include the respondents': (1) definitions of domestic violence and abuse; (2) the type of domestic violence or abuse personally experienced; and (3) reasons they believe domestic violence or abuse occurs in these types of relationships.
This study illustrates the need for further research in this area of domestic violence and for programs or services targeted for this specific population.
Desdin R (1984). Intergenerational male homosexual couples: an examination of sex role ascription, attitudes toward men's and women's roles and sex role behaviors. Ph.D. Thesis, Oklahoma State University. DAI Vol. 45: 06B, p. 1910, 70 pages.
Abstract by author: Scope and Method of Study. The purpose of the study was to compare two groups of nonclinical male homosexual couples in long term relationships. One group consisted of individuals under 35 years of age, the other consisted of individuals over 35 years of age. The following variables were studied: sex role ascription, sex role behaviors, attitudes towards both men's and women's roles, and household behaviors. Subjects were recruited in Los Angeles, California, through gay churches, gay bars, and friendship pyramiding.
These two groups of 15 couples each were matched on educational level, income, and duration of relationship. The subjects were administered the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), Bem Sex Role Inventory-Behaviors Scale (BSRI-B), Attitudes Towards Women Scale (AWS), Attitudes Towards Masculine Transcendence Scale (ATMTS), and Household Behaviors Scale (HBS). The Mini-Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Mini-MMPI) was used as a screening device to insure a nonclinical sample.
Multivariate analyses of variance, analyses of variance, analyses of covariance, and a correlation matrix were utilized to analyze the data. Findings and Conclusions. Differences were found on the matched variables. The older couples were found to have been together longer (duration of relationship), and to have higher incomes. The two groups of couples could not be differentiated on sex role ascription (BSRI), sex role behaviors (BSRI-B), or household behaviors (HBS). Compared to the younger couples, the older gay couples were found to express more conservative attitudes towards both men and women's roles. Reasons for these findings were discussed
Duley JF (1993). Relationship satisfaction, sex role orientation, and attitudes toward homosexuality in gay male couples. Ph.D. Thesis, The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill, DAI Vol . 53:12B, p. 6601, 114 pages.
Abstract by author: Sixty-five gay male couples participated in this investigation of the relationships among dyadic adjustment, sex role orientation, and attitudes toward homosexuality. A positive relationship was found between scores on Spanier’s (1976) Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) and ‘femininity’ as measured by the Personality Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ, Spence & Helmreich, 1978). Couples with two high feminine partners had higher DAS scores than couples with one or no high feminine partners. However, the study’s other major hypotheses were not supported. The M+ and negative scales of the PAQ, CPI masculinity and femininity scales, and the Gay and Lesbian Attitudes Questionnaire (GLAQ, Duley, 1990) did not significantly correlate with DAS. Comparisons with a previously collected lesbian sample were made, providing evidence for differences in lesbians and gay men on some of these constructs. Finally, a confirmatory factor analysis of the GLAQ did not support the three subscale factor model. Recommendations for further research are provided.
Dupuis MD (1997). The politics of rights in the case for same-sex marriage. Ph.D. Thesis, University Of Southern California. DAI Vol. 59:05A, p. 1749, 233 pages.
Abstract by author: The Hawaii same-sex marriage case and resulting legislation challenge the traditional notion of matrimony. The desire for same-sex couples to legally protect their relationship is not limited to the United States, and the issue is being debated in many nations. The different strategies for securing civil rights and the effect that culture, social views, and history have on these processes are evaluated. The political tactics employed in Congress and state legislatures in anticipation of Hawaii’s recognition of same-sex marriage are examined. The treatment of gay and lesbian relationships in other countries is explored, including the impact that international law has on the debate.
Flaks DK (1993). Lesbian couples and their children: psychological and legal implications. Psy.D. Thesis, Widener University, Institute For Graduate Clinical Psychology, DAI Vol. 54:04B, p. 2198, 211 pages.
Abstract by author: It is estimated that between 1.5 and 5 million lesbians reside with their children in the United States. Many of these women decided to have children, with or without partners, after coming out as lesbians. Despite the rapid growth of this population, few studies have examined this alternative family form. After a survey of the legal and psychological literature pertaining to lesbian-mother families, this empirical research study compared 15 lesbian-mother families formed through donor insemination with 15 matched heterosexual-parent control families. All of the families in both groups consisted of two parents and at least one child between the ages of three and nine years old. A variety of assessment measures were used to evaluate the children’s mental health, the parents’ dyadic adjustment and parenting skills, and the families’ relationships and interactions. The research was unique in that (1) its experimental sample was limited to planned, two-parent lesbian families formed through donor insemination, (2) it employed a matched heterosexual-parent control group, and (3) it gathered information from a variety of sources, including self-report questionnaires, psychological testing, teacher reports and an interview. Overall, its findings support the conclusion that lesbian mothers and their children are similar in almost all respects to heterosexual parents and their children. As a consequence, it concludes that lesbian-parent families deserve equal treatment in our society.
Haley-Banez LM (1997). Lesbian couple’s narratives. Ph.D. Thesis, Kent State University, DAI Vol. 58:07A, p. 2546, 248 pages.
Abstract by author: Although the literature on lesbian couples has grown over recent years, very few studies have examined the narratives of lesbian couples who are currently in long-term relationships. Informed by social construction theory, feminist research theory, and the work of Jerome Bruner (1990) regarding the influence of persons and events in changing self-narratives over time, this study explored how lesbian couples in long-term relationships construct and maintain their couple’s narratives over time. This study also examined how working with the dialectical text of a couple’s narrative informs the couple or impacts the construction of their couple’s narrative. A qualitative design using constant comparative analysis, with triangulation of data, was used to address the research questions. The main source of information was interviews with four lesbian couples from diverse backgrounds. Additional data was gathered through interviews with a friend, a member of their family of origin, or a member of their family of choice, observation of the couple during an event that was identified by the couple as meaningful to the couple, a review of other documents that had chronicled their life together, such as photographs, video tapes, and legal documents. Member checking and an outside reader were utilized to enhance the trustworthiness of the study. The researcher analyzed this data for emergent themes and patterns in the transcribed text. The results of this study suggested that lesbian couples co-constructed their couples’ narratives through negotiation and by weaving together meaningful events. Their narratives were changed and maintained over time by persons, events, and through hard work. In working with their dialectical text, the results suggested that the couples felt empowered and validated, with some couples becoming more aware of their strengths as a couple.
Kelloog PA (1997). Lesbian mothers use feminist relationship practices to create new family roles and supportive social contexts for their families. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Minnesota, DAI Vol. 58-07A, p. 2867, 386 pages.
Abstract: This ethnography focuses on a friendship circle of four white lesbian parenting couples which formed as a support group when the women were pregnant. Data was gathered over three years of participant observation. The study describes the strategies these lesbians used (1) to create support systems of biological relatives, extended 'families of choice,' and networks of friends; (2) to define new family roles for the non-biological mothers and in one case for a gay sperm donor father; and (3) to negotiate integrating their families into mainstream childrearing arenas. The mothers used a range of relationship strategies to meet these challenges. They nurtured their support systems through innovative social structures such as the support group, birth teams, and original ceremonies to celebrate births and relationship commitments.
The study identifies and describes the mothers' use of a cluster of lesbian feminist social practices designed to encourage the feminist values of equality and self-expressiveness in relationships. These practices included: consensus decision making, rituals structured around personal sharing, playful go-arounds, check-ins, on-going analytical dialogues on topics that are personal as well as political, and interpersonal 'processing.' The study analyzes lesbian processing, especially as it was used in family formation to construct an equal role for the non-biological mother. This role was processed among the family and close friends, and it was intentionally given visibility at large celebrations so it could be validated in a wide social context. The lesbian mothers used their relationships and their culture to support them as they negotiated integrating their families into mainstream childrearing culture on their own terms. The women shared stories with each other about relatives' homophobia, about interactions with social institutions, and about teaching children how to explain their family structure to others. As the social borders opened both lesbian feminist culture and the mainstream changed. The larger society adapted to the families, and in several instances members of the dominant society appreciated the parents' affilial skills. The lesbian feminists softened their identity politics and revised feminist theories of gender socialization. Cultural adaptation and culture creation occurred at a rapid rate.
Lambert DF (1997). Sex role identity of male children raised by lesbians and heterosexual couples. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 35:06, p. 1669, 39 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this exploratory study was to assess whether gender role identity differences exist between boys raised by heterosexual parents and boys raised by lesbian parents. A snowball sample of 20 English-speaking boys ranging in age from 7 to 17 participated in the study. There were 10 boys in each group. The participants were given the Children’s Sex Role Inventory (modified from the Bem Sex Role Inventory) to assess masculinity, femininity, and androgyny. A t-test was performed on the data, resulting in no significant differences between the two groups of boys. Due to limitations of this study, these findings are not generalizable, but are consistent with prevailing research.
Lasala MC (1997). The need for a thick skin: coupled gay men and their relationships with their parents and in-laws. Ph.D. Thesis, Sate University of New York at Albany, DAI Vol. 58-11A, p. 4444, 166 pages.
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to begin to describe the relationships between partnered gay men and their parents and in-laws. This exploratory study used grounded theory methodology as its main approach. Data was collected from 40 men in 20 homosexual couples using a standardized open-ended interview. Analysis of the data suggests that partnered gay men are almost certain to face antagonism from their parents and parents in-law.
The men were inclined to perceive their parents' attitudes about their homosexuality, their partners and their unions more positively than their partners. This tendency along with the descriptions of overall parental support despite evidence to the contrary suggests that gay men's intergenerational relationships may be more adverse than they are willing to realize.
Gay men may be cognitively minimizing their parents' and in-laws' hostility. They may also believe that one sign of approval, such as inclusion of the partner in family events is sufficient criteria to consider their parents tolerant and accepting. Each partner being out to his parents may be advantageous to gay men's partnerships despite the strong likelihood of disapproval.
Most of the respondents of this study were out to their parents and believed that their relationships benefitted by not having to hide them as well as having their partners included in family events. Even when parents were hostile, the men were glad that their parents knew and felt their dyads were strengthened by the experience of coping with intergenerational hostility.
Coming out to parents may be an important developmental stage for gay men. Without disclosing their sexual orientation to their parents, gay men may be unable to establish intergenerational boundaries around their partnerships nor give their dyads the priority they need in order to flourish. The interviewees were adamant that parental and in-law disapproval did not adversely affect their relationships.
Several discussed the importance of emotional independence in protecting themselves from not only intergenerational but societal hostility. This probably assists gay men in establishing the strong intergenerational boundaries necessary to shield their unions from parental and in-law disapproval.
Max DN (1990). Gender differences in dispositions toward intimacy: a study of heterosexual, lesbian and gay Male couples. Ph.D. Thesis, The Wright Institute, DAI Vol. 51:04B, p. 2103, 170 pages.
Abstract by author: This study evaluated the influence of sex and sex role on intimacy in adult couple relationships. This study tested the hypothesis that there are differences in the level of intimacy between heterosexual, lesbian, and gay male couples. This hypothesis builds on the assumption that if differences exist between these types of couples, they are due to the proportion of men and women in each couple type. Partners in 44 heterosexual, 51 lesbian, and 46 gay male relationships completed a demographic questionnaire, the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales III, and the Bem Sex Role Inventory. The results indicate that biological sex is not sufficient to explain differences in intimacy. Lesbian couples reported significantly higher levels of cohesion than either heterosexual or gay male couples; however, no significant differences were found between heterosexual and gay male couples. A second hypothesis, that intimacy is affected by sex role, and that differences in role related traits may account for an appreciable amount of the differences usually attributed to the differences between men and women, was supported by the results. Feminine couples reported significantly higher levels of cohesion than either masculine couples or couples whose sex roles included a mixture of masculinity and femininity. The ways that same-sex and mixed-sex couples can successfully balance the opposing pulls towards intimacy and autonomy are discussed. Results are seen as challenging Rubin’s (1983) position regarding the stereotypical differences in men’s and women’s dispositions toward intimacy. Other findings suggest a need to reevaluate the validity and standardization of the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales.
Melamed DK (1992). Internalized homophobia and lesbian couple. Ph.D. Thesis, City University Of New York, DAI Vol. 53:07B, p. 3784, 196 pages.
Abstract by author: During the past decade, the psychological literature on gay issues has included a specific emphasis on the functioning and treatment of lesbian couples. However, theory about these couples has often been formulated on the basis of clinical observations and, as a result, has tended to portray lesbian couples in rather biased and pathologized ways. In order to more accurately understand the functioning of lesbian couples, it is crucial to conduct non-biased, empirically-based research which takes into account their unique realities. Chief among these is the experience of integrating the lesbian identity which, because of the societal bias against it, carries a significant stigma. Clearly, the achievement of a viable lesbian relationship entails the resolution of ‘internalized homophobia,’ which is defined as self-devaluation based on the social stigmatization of homosexuality. The present study was an attempt to explore the adjustment, satisfaction, and commitment of well-established lesbian couples, with a particular focus on the effects of internalized homophobia. Its main hypothesis was that higher levels of internalized homophobia would be associated with lowered dyadic adjustment and decreased relationship satisfaction and commitment. It was also hypothesized that higher levels of internalized homophobia would be associated with lower levels of self-esteem. A national sample of 223 lesbian couples was recruited. Subjects had a mean age of 36 years, and a mean relationship duration of 7.5 years. Results showed that couples’ levels of internalized homophobia did vary inversely with dyadic adjustment and with relationship satisfaction and commitment, and that individual internalized homophobia varied inversely with self-esteem. In an interesting supplementary analysis, it was found that women who identified themselves as ‘exclusively homosexual’ tended to have lower rates of internalized homophobia and higher levels of relationship adjustment than those who described themselves as ‘predominantly homosexual, only slightly heterosexual.’ In general, then, these findings confirmed the notion that the lesbian woman’s feelings about her gay identity have a profound influence on her interpersonal and intrapsychic experience. These results were discussed in terms of their relevance for lesbian women’s overall mental health, as well as for their specific clinical implications.
Norton HS (1995). Intimacy and relationship satisfaction in heterosexual, gay male and lesbian couples. Psy.D. Thesis, Massachusetts School Of Professional Psychology, DAI Vol. 56:06B, p. 3458, 162 pages.
Abstract by author: This study was designed to contribute to the further understanding of the relationship between intimacy and relationship satisfaction in heterosexual, gay male and lesbian couples. The three couple types were compared on various aspects of intimacy and relationship satisfaction. The various sub-types of intimacy were studied, in terms of their variations which may be predictive of relationship satisfaction. Sex role identity and gender were also examined in relation to intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Sex role identity has been divided into masculine, feminine, undifferentiated and androgynous and examined in terms of hypothesized significant differences, between the androgynous individuals and the masculine or feminine individuals, in relationship satisfaction and intimacy. Subjects were 31 heterosexual, 11 gay male and 20 cohabiting lesbian monogamous individuals. Criteria for inclusion in the study included a relationship length of at least two years. The study design was cross-sectional and quantitative. Intimacy was measured by the Waring Intimacy Questionnaire (Waring, 1983) Relationship satisfaction was measured by the Marital Satisfaction Inventory (Snyder, 1979). Sex role identity was measured by the Bem Sex Role Inventory. It was hypothesized that: (1) a positive relationship exists between intimacy and relationship satisfaction in cohabiting monogamous heterosexual, gay male and lesbian couples; (2) there will be a significant difference between men and women in terms of the types of intimacy that are most predictive of relationship satisfaction; (3) there will be a significant difference between the three groups (heterosexuals, gay males and lesbians) in terms of types of intimacy that are most predictive of relationship satisfaction; (4) sex role identity will have an effect on intimacy and relationship satisfaction, specifically that androgynous individuals will report higher intimacy and higher relationship satisfaction than either masculine or feminine subjects. The results of the statistical analyses supported Hypothesis # 1. Hypothesis #2 was not supported by the results. Hypotheses #3 and #4 were only partially supported by the results. In general there were found to be many similarities between couple type and genders and very few significant differences. For each of the couple types (heterosexual, gay male and lesbian) there was a significant relationship between intimacy and relationship satisfaction. However, only those individuals in gay male couples demonstrated clinically significant results which accounted for more than 50% of the variance. When intimacy was higher, relationship satisfaction was greater or when relationship satisfaction was greater, intimacy was higher. In general, there were no major differences between couple types or genders in terms of the significance of a variety of sub-types of intimacy on relationship satisfaction. One sub-type of intimacy-conflict resolution proved to be significant for gay males. There were no significant relationships between sub-types of intimacy and satisfaction for heterosexuals or lesbians. Androgynous individuals reported greater intimacy in their relationships than those individuals with a predominantly masculine sex-role identity.
O'Donnell GJ (1997). An exploration of the effect of attachment style on the conflict dynamics of the long-term couple. Ph.D. Thesis, West Virginia University, DAI Vol. 58:02B, p. 986, 261 pages.
Abstract by author: Significant research literature supports the view that a couple’s ability to resolve conflicts has a large impact on the stability of the relationship and the satisfaction of the members of the couple. Few studies have been conducted, however, to determine the relationships among the intrapersonal and interpersonal variables that affect the dynamics of conflict, in long-term couples. Consequently, this study explores the impact of the affective, cognitive, and behavioral correlates that accompany the internal working model, as described by attachment theory. Special attention has been given to the employment of defense mechanisms, style of conflict management, and defense-provoking behaviors. Participants in this study included five lesbian adult couples who have been in committed romantic relationships for at least six years. A phenomenological approach was used, rendering this study largely qualitative. Methodological process included the use of two unstructured interviews with each participant. The first interview was conducted with the participant only, while the second was conducted with the couple. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using many of the methodological steps described in Hycner’s model for qualitative research. In addition to the interviews, convergent validity of the primary constructs was examined utilizing three measures: These instruments included the Dyadic Adjustment Scale; the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument; and the Defense Mechanism Inventory. As revealed by the data collection and analysis, there is strong indication that attachment style predicts many of the dynamics between members of a couple. Such variables include ego defense, conflict management style, defense-provoking behavior, emotional versus cognitive approach, feeling orientation, interpersonal power, desire for personal space, desire for immediacy in resolution, couple satisfaction, and level of commitment to the relationship.
Oliver JL (1998). Do gay and lesbian couples have similar communication styles? Ph.D. Thesis, The Union Institute, DAI Vol. 59:09B, p. 5169, 133 pages.
Abstract by author: Are men and women really from different planets as a popular book purports? Do they grow up in different cultures and employ different languages as others suggest? Some researchers are convinced that biological forces (hormones, genes, and the organic structure of the brain) explain the differences between men and women, while others claim environmental influences like culture, family, roles, and circumstances are responsible. A third group of researchers explains the differences between men and women as the combination of both biological and environmental forces. Until recently, most studies of gender communication have been conducted on mixed-gender couples’ interactions. Same-gender communication studies have been conducted on mostly close friends or acquaintances with few same-gender studies looking at the communication styles of intimate same-gender relationships. This Project Demonstrating Excellence asked: Do gay and lesbian couples have similar communication styles? Ten couples (6 gay and 4 lesbian) participated in this study. All participants were Caucasian, except one who was Asian-Pacific, and they had an annual income ranging from $8000 to over /$50,000. Each participant completed a questionnaire and then sat with their partner for 20 minutes discussing some issue of concern or some intimate matter. These conversations were videotaped and then transcribed for analysis. Five scorers were trained to note six verbal styles of communication: interruptions, attempted interruptions, finished sentences, talkovers, encouragers, and minimum responses, as well as three nonverbal styles: eye contact, touches, and body positions. Although previous research suggested that gays and lesbians employed different styles of communication, this study found only slight differences: Gays tend to interrupt each other more often than lesbians, and lesbians tend to talkover one another more than gays. More similarity than dissimilarity was found. And despite the findings from previous research, no ‘gay style’ or ‘lesbian style’ could be detected.
Park JL (1994). The Development Of Lesbian Couple Relationships. Ed.D. Thesis, Boston University, DAI Vol. 54;11A, p. 3994, 315 pages.
Abstract by author: This study was a qualitative exploration of the normative developmental themes and processes in lesbian couple relationships. The analysis was grounded in lesbians’ accounts of their relationships, and includes rich, detailed qualitative data about partnerships up to 23 years in length. The theoretical approach to development was eclectic due to the exploratory nature of the study, and drew from research on couple development, women’s development, and lesbianism. The participants were 18 lesbian couples who had lived together from 1-23 years, and were between the ages of 25-65. They were a diverse group with respect to occupation, race, and cultural and religious backgrounds. A single session, 2-3 hour, joint interview was conducted. The results were generated from a primary question designed to elicit the story of the relationship, how it evolved and changed over the years, and aspects important to the couple. There were cross-sectional, retrospective longitudinal aspects of the design. Generalizations were made across couples and three chronological periods of development over time were identified. The early years were devoted to relationship-building, the middle years to maintaining the connection, and foremost in the later years was a sense of satisfaction and security. Developmental changes occurred on multiple levels: the individual, interpersonal, and systemic. Salient themes included: lesbian identity issues, attachment, sexuality, commitment, and conflict management. Development consisted of several subplots in which women became familiar; developed a sense of liking, love, trust, empathy, and common goals; shared experiences and physical intimacies; and made enduring commitments in the face of challenges and change. Key relational processes encompassed greater complexity over time. The social and historical contexts of development were found to be significant. The results are contrasted to some of the concepts about development which were primarily based on more clinical descriptions of lesbian couples’ problems. This study highlights the importance of a normative developmental view of lesbian relationships, including the family life cycle, which should be further delineated through research and utilized in practice. This research made a significant contribution to the slowly growing body of qualitative literature about lesbian couples.
Perlich JR (1998). An explication of dialectical tensions and their negotiation in same-sex committed relationships. Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Nebraska, DAI Vol. 58-08A, p. 2906, 193 pages.
Abstract: Dialectical tensions have been explored and identified in a number of recent studies. Some dialectical tensions include the 'pull' between the simultaneous need for integration-separation, stability-change, and expression-privacy. Past research on dialectics has focused on the existence of internal tensions, recorded the experience of tensions from an individual perspective, failed to consider the interplay between tensions, and presupposed a linear, developmental trajectory of relationships.
The present study identified and explicated the experience and negotiation of dialectical contradictions in homosexual accounts of relationships. By specifically examining these relationships, new insight was provided not only about the assumptions of less marginalized relationships, but about dialectical tensions in same-sex committed couples as well. Four research questions were specifically addressed: (1) How do gay and lesbian couples communicate and work through their experiences of the core dialectical tension of expression-privacy?; (2) How do gay and lesbian couples communicate and work through their experiences of expression-privacy within the homosexual community?; (3) How do gay and lesbian couples communicate and work through their experiences of expression-privacy within the heterosexual community?; and (4) What, if any, interplay exists between the experience of the internal dialectical tension of openness-closedness and the external dialectical tension of revelation-concealment for the gay and lesbian couples in this study? Ten couples were interviewed about their relationships.
Transcripted data were analyzed using the phenomenological steps of description, reduction, and interpretation. Over 3,000 meaning units were horizonalized into 190 variant themes. Three invariant themes, and two interpretive thematics emerged during this study. One key finding was that same-sex committed couples used disorientation - a nonfunctional negotiation strategy - to manage external dialectical tensions. Furthermore, participants also described the tendency to use a new negotiation strategy - target compartmentalization - to work through the tension between the need to reveal and/or conceal information to/from others. Results also indicated that couples negotiate the tensions according to the interpretive thematics of power and understanding. Overall, the findings suggested that dialectical tensions were prevalent in same-sex committed relationships, and illuminated new ways of experiencing and negotiating the tensions.
Reimann R (1998). Shared parenting in a changing world of work: lesbian couples’ transition to parenthood and their division of labor. Ph.D. Thesis, DAI Vol. 59:09A, p. 3662, 270 pages.
Abstract by author: The effects of biological motherhood, early childcare requirements, gender inequality, and power imbalances on parents’ transition to parenthood and their division of labor are much contested issues. This dissertation explores these questions in a unique context - lesbian parenthood - where biological and practical requirements can be analytically separated from gender effects. The analysis is based on a study of 25 lesbian couples’ transition to parenthood and their division of labor. Each couple had at least one biological child under the age of six and all children were born within the context of the couples’ relationship. I conducted in-depth interviews with each partner and with the couple, and all participants filled out short questionnaires at the time of the interview and at 18 to 24 months after the interview. The distinction between the biological and non-biological mother affected couples in three domains of motherhood: public, relational, and personal motherhood. Comothers countered public ignorance, social and legal invisibility, and the lack of biological connection to the child by sharing primary childcare and establishing a distinct parenting role within the family. Mutual acknowledgment of the right to financial independence and commitment to paid work, shared values supporting the desirability of childcare and the importance of housework characterized the lesbian couples in this study. Same-sex gender dynamics, feminist attitudes, and the desire to equally parent and mother their children formed the basis for shared or joint motherhood and a predominantly egalitarian division of labor. The labor intensity of early childcare and the need for financial security led to a variety of work arrangements, including long-term specialization into homemaker and breadwinner (28%). Specialization, however, was independent of biological motherhood. Desire to be with the child, economic considerations, and strong commitments to equality and shared motherhood rather than biological requirements informed decisions about leave strategies and long-term paid work arrangements. Work arrangements were generally flexible and shifted whenever labor force or childcare requirements changed. Flexibility also characterized the division of specific household and childcare tasks. Overall, time/availability proved to be the best predictor of involvement in family work.
Roper KD (1997). Lesbian couple dynamics and individual psychological adjustment. Ph.D. Thesis, California School Of Professional Psychology - Berkeley/Alameda, DAI Vol. 58:05B, p. 2698, 133 pages.
Abstract by author: Lesbian couples have been identified in the literature as more enmeshed than other couple types, presumably because female socialization and developmental dynamics gear them to be more connected and affiliative than men. Only very recently have theorists proposed that two women can have relationship closeness while still maintaining individual boundaries and effective functioning. This study examined how lesbian participants’ individual psychological adjustment, social support, and outness are related to their perceptions of their partners’ relationship behavior (enmeshment, cohesion and differentiation) in a sample of 141 women in couple relationships. Enmeshment is a pathological style of relating signified by intrusive closeness and lack of personal boundaries. Cohesion is a healthy emotional closeness where partners are consistently caregiving to one another and have clear boundaries. Differentiation is the ability of partners to distinguish one’s self from the other. Enmeshment was operationalized using the Intrusiveness scales of the California Inventory of Family Assessment (CIFA) (Werner & Green, 1991a, 1991b, 1993). Cohesion was operationalized using the Closeness-Caregiving scales of the CIFA. Differentiation was operationalized using a composite of CIFA Closeness-Caregiving scales, CIFA Openness of Communication scales, and (negatively) CIFA Intrusiveness scales based on a suggestion by Green et al. (1996). Social support was measured using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet, & Farley, 1988) and psychological adjustment was measured using the Brief Symptom Inventory (Derogatis & Spencer, 1982), a short form of the SCL-90 (Derogatis, 1983). The partner’s cohesion and differentiation were significantly positively correlated with the respondent’s individual psychological adjustment, while the partner’s enmeshment was negatively associated with the respondent’s individual psychological functioning. Respondent’s being out to friends was independent of partner’s cohesion, enmeshment, and differentiation. Respondent’s social support from friends was significantly negatively correlated with partner’s enmeshment. Results confirmed the need to reevaluate pathological notions of relationship closeness and psychological functioning among lesbian couples. Lesbians, like heterosexual couples, vary in their levels of closeness-caregiving, openness of communication, and intrusiveness, and these relationship behaviors bear the same association to mental health indices as has been found for heterosexual couples.
Sbordone AJ (1993). Gay men choosing fatherhood. Ph.D. Thesis, City University of New York, DAI Vol. 54-06B, p. 3351, 137 pages.
Abstract: Seventy-eight gay men who are parents via adoption or arrangements with surrogate mothers were compared with 83 gay non-fathers on measures of internalized homophobia, self-esteem and recollections of their families of origin during childhood. Questionnaires included: the Nungesser Homosexual Attitudes Inventory, the Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, the Family-of-Origin Scale, the Parent-Child Relations Questionnaire II, and a demographic section. Tests of statistical significance included: the t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, chi-square, Pearson's r, and analysis of variance. This research begins the documentation of a recent phenomenon in the gay community, gay men who are choosing to become fathers within the context of a gay identity. Results indicate that fathers and non-fathers do not differ significantly in their recollections of maternal and paternal parent-child relationships on measures of love, rejection, attention, or casual versus demanding attitudes toward rules. Nor do the two groups differ significantly on their perceptions of intimacy and autonomy in the family of origin. However, fathers do display significantly higher levels of self-esteem and significantly lower levels of internalized homophobia than non-fathers. Further comparisons include non-fathers who would like to raise a child and those who would not, and correlations between the arrival of a child and scores on measures of self-esteem and internalized homophobia. The author speculates that the fathers' higher self-esteem and lower internalized homophobia are a result of fatherhood rather than a precursor to it.
Spiers CJ (1998). Commitment and stability in lesbian relationships. Ph.D. Thesis, University Of Maryland College Park, DAI Vol. 59:06B, p. 3076, 130 pages.
Abstract by author: This study of 227 self-identified lesbians, recruited primarily through the Internet, was designed to apply a model of relationship stability developed with a heterosexual population to a lesbian population. Specifically, the model tested was based on Stanley and Markman’s (1992) research using the Commitment Inventory, which breaks commitment into two factors: personal dedication, such as a strong sense of ‘couple identity’, and a belief in the importance of commitments, and external constraints to leaving a relationship, such as financial and legal bonds. Stability was operationalized in two ways: a self-report measure comprised of 5 items used by Rusbult (1983), 3 items used by Peplau, Padesky and Hamilton (1982), and 7 items from Sternberg’s (1988) triangular assessment of love scale, and actual relationship longevity. Three other variables, self-disclosure of sexual orientation, self-acceptance of sexual orientation, and satisfaction were included in the model as moderator variables in the hypothesized relationship between personal dedication, external constraints on a relationship, and stability. Regression analyses found two different models were supported depending on the measure of stability used. Specifically, 59% of the total variance in self-report stability was accounted for by personal dedication, satisfaction, self-disclosure, the interaction between personal dedication and self-disclosure, and the interaction between satisfaction and constraints on a relationship. Of the variance accounted for by this model, three-fourths was explained by personal dedication alone. In contrast, only 3% of the variance in actual relationship longevity was accounted for, all of which was explained by constraints on a relationship. The correlation between the two measures of stability was.21 ($p<.01).$ These findings closely parallel findings from research on heterosexual couples (Adams and Jones, 1997; and Stanley and Markman, 1992) Results seem to indicate that aspects of commitment based on self-perception are predictive of one’s perception of relationship stability, whereas more behavioral aspects of commitment are predictive of actual staying together in relationships. Recently, Adams and Jones (1997) have argued for refining the definition of commitment to include only intentionality aspects, such as personal dedication, with factors such as constraints being understood as a separate construct which act in concert with commitment to affect the endurance of a relationship. The findings from the current study support this conclusion.
Taylor MU (1998). Attitudes of social workers toward gay and lesbian adoption. M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, MAI Vol. 36:05, p. 1276, 117 pages.
Abstract by author: The purpose of this study was to examine the association of homophobia and heterosexual attitudes toward homosexuals with social workers’ attitudes toward adoption by gay and lesbian couples. The sample consisted of 50 Senior Social Workers employed in public child welfare in Adoption and Integrated Continuing Services. The research indicated that the social workers were nonhomophobic and had positive attitudes toward homosexuality and adoption by gay/lesbian couples and that these areas were positively associated. Ethnic minority respondents were less accepting than Whites of homosexuality and less nonhomophobic. Homosexual respondents were more accepting of homosexuality and more nonhomophobic than heterosexuals. Approximately one third of the respondents felt that gay/lesbian couples should not be able to adopt children under 5. The sample favored adoption of gay/lesbian teenagers by gay/lesbian couples over any other children. Implications for social work practice were discussed, and recommendations for future study were suggested.
Trammel RL (1998). Relationship satisfaction in gay male couples. Ph.D. Thesis, Arizona State University, DAI Vol. 59:03B, p. 740, 216 pages.
Abstract by author: While there currently exists considerable research on marital satisfaction along with a growing body of research on relationship satisfaction in gay male couples, most of the research in recent years with gay men has focused on their sexual behaviors and attitudes and the impact of HIV/AIDS. No studies to date have examined the relationship of love, relationship satisfaction, the length of relationships and the effects of gay identity development on gay male relationships. The purpose of this study is to test the ability of intimacy, passion and commitment to predict relationship satisfaction and duration of relationships in gay male couples, and to investigate the impact of gay identity development on male relationships. Seventy-eight gay men (39 couples) in committed relationships served as the sample for this study. Participants could be living together or apart. The average length of time in a relationship was approximately nine years and ranged from one year to just over 35 years. Participants were administered the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Triangular Theory of Love Scale, and the Gay Identity Questionnaire. The data were analyzed by step-wise and simple multiple regression and Pearson Product Moment correlations. Results showed that intimacy and commitment were significant predictors of relationship satisfaction in gay male couples. Intimacy and commitment were found not to be related to relationship duration, while passion was negatively related to relationship duration in gay men, Gay identity development was found to be positively related to relationship satisfaction as well as to commitment in male couples. The findings suggest that intimacy is the most important factor in maintaining a satisfying gay male relationship and that as the relationship endures, passion fades. While a difficult construct to measure, stages of gay identity development also appear to play a part in how gay men interact over time and in the development of satisfying same-sex relationships, The results of this study are also discussed in terms of its importance to counseling psychologists when dealing with gay men in relationships.
Walczynski PT (1997). Power, personality, and conflictual interaction: an exploration of demand/withdraw interaction in same-sex and cross-sex couples. Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, DAI Vol. 58-10B, p. 5660, 159 pages.
Abstract: Twenty married, 20 unmarried heterosexual, 20 lesbian, and 15 gay male couples participated in this study investigating the demand/withdraw interaction pattern. In this pattern, one partner (the demander) attempts to engage in discussions of relationship issues and pressures, nags, demands, or criticizes the other, while the partner (the withdrawer) attempts to avoid such discussions through silence, defensiveness, or withdrawal.
Couple members completed a series of questionnaires measuring gender-linked personality traits and power-linked variables. Couples also engaged in two videotaped problem-solving discussions, one in which each partner had an investment in seeking change in the other. Self-report and observer ratings about demand/withdraw behavior during these discussions were obtained. Results are presented in two papers. Paper 1 attempts to replicate previous findings about demand/withdraw from research with married couples to couples in nonmarital relationships.
Results indicate that demand/withdraw interaction is not specific to male-female interactions—couples in same-sex relationships demonstrated as much demand/withdraw communication as did cross-sex couples, and the amount of demand/withdraw interaction in same-sex couples was significantly associated with relationship dissatisfaction as has been demonstrated in previous research. Results of Paper 1 also revealed that gender differences in demand/withdraw behavior are apparent in the relationships of unmarried heterosexual couples as has been previously found in married couples. In Paper 2, demand/withdraw behavior is examined during problem-solving interactions with particular emphasis on how behavior is affected by one's investment in seeking change.
Results revealed that, although gender differences in conflict behavior existed, factors distinct from biological sex were predictive of demand/withdraw roles. That is, partners who possessed more feminine traits and more power than their counterparts, measured in terms of say and influence over decision making in the relationship, were more likely to be demanding while their partners were withdrawing across conflict discussions.
However, this effect was modified by the structure of conflict, such that greater polarization in demand/withdraw roles occurred during discussion of issues raised by the demander than during discussions of issues raised by the withdrawer. Findings concerning the linkage of power to demand/withdraw roles are contrary to present theories, and possible reasons for these findings are discussed.
Weber JC (1997). Lesbian dyads as families. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Florida, DAI Vol. 59A, p. 2201, 145 1ages.
Abstract by author: This is a study of lesbian couples who are in committed relationships. Its purpose is to explore some of the ways in which such couples display characteristics and problems typical of ‘nuclear families.’ This will be done by examining the process of dyadic/familial relationships rather than the function. Dyads under examination are female same-sex couples who are in committed relationships. The women in this study insist that they have created families - a haven from which they gain a sense of ‘we-ness.’ Data for this study were gathered by the author from a snowball sample that yielded 168 participants (84 couples). The participants allowed me to delve into their personal relationships, gathering information regarding the Formation phase of their relationship and the Maintenance/Change phase of their relationships. Five specific topics are explored within these phases: dating, commitment, allocation of household tasks, financial resources and management, and domestic violence. While not generalizable, findings indicate that the women in this sample move very quickly from the Formation phase to the Maintenance/Change phase of a sexually bonded primary relationship. Once in the Maintenance/Change phase, perceptions of equity play a more important role than realities of equity regarding allocation of household tasks and financial resources and management. Domestic violence was found to exist in 25 percent of the sample, and the victims of partner violence display many of the characteristics of the heterosexual battered women. Among perpetrators of violence, issues of abuse of authority and abuse of trust were common.
Wood CR (1998). The transformative potential of same-sex marriage M.A. Thesis, University Of Louisville, MAI Vol. 36:06, p. 1495, 71 pages.
Abstract by author: This thesis situates current efforts to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in context of the larger gay rights movement and feminist critiques of the institution of marriage, as well as the earlier struggle of interracial couples for the freedom to marry. While most efforts to end discrimination against lesbians and gay men have framed the issue as one of sexuality, courts in Hawaii and Alaska have taken a more direct approach: sex discrimination. In this thesis, I will argue that they were correct to do so, and that their analysis makes possible a more effective political strategy for gay and lesbian emancipation while avoiding dehumanizing discourses.
Publication No. 1390374
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