Current Intimate Relationship Status, Depression, and Alcohol Use Among Bisexual Women: The Mediating Roles of Bisexual-Specific Minority Stressors
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Current intimate relationship characteristics, including gender and number of partner(s), may affect one’s visibility as a bisexual individual and the minority stressors they experience, which may in turn influence their health. The current study tested four hypotheses: 1) minority stressors vary by current intimate relationship status; 2) higher minority stressors are associated with higher depressive symptoms and alcohol-related outcomes; 3) depressive symptoms and alcohol-related outcomes vary by current intimate relationship status; and 4) minority stressors will mediate differences in these outcomes. Participants included 470 self-identified bisexual women (65 % Caucasian, mean age: 21) from a sample of sexual minority women recruited from different geographic regions in the United States through advertisements on social networking sites and Craigslist. Participants completed a 45 min survey. Respondents with single partners were first grouped by partner gender (male partner: n = 282; female partner: n = 56). Second, women were grouped by partner gender/number (single female/male partner: n = 338; women with multiple female and male partners: n = 132). Women with single male partners and women with multiple male and female partners exhibited elevated experienced bi-negativity and differences in outness (H1). Experienced and internalized bi-negativity were associated with health outcomes, but not outness (H2). Differences in outcomes emerged by partner number and partner number/gender (H3); these differences were mediated by experienced bi-negativity (H4). These results suggest that experiences of discrimination may underlie differences in health related to bisexual women’s relationship structure and highlight the importance of evaluating women’s relational context as well as sexual identification in understanding health risk behaviors.
KeywordsBisexual women Current intimate relationship status Minority stress Alcohol outcomes Depression
This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01AA018292; PI: Kaysen, DL; trainee DEL - NIAAA T32 AA007459 PI: Monti) and the National Cancer Institute (trainee YM - R25 CA92408; PI: Patrick D). We would like to thank Keren Lehavot and Deva Wells for their thoughts during early stages of this project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. This research involves human participants and has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Washington. All participants read and completed informed consent prior to participation in this study.
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