Same-sex couples establish and maintain relationships for many of the reasons heterosexuals do, even without widespread acceptance. The manner in which couples maintain their relationships constitutes a subject of considerable research, though such research has primarily examined heterosexuals. Yet, two studies have evaluated relational maintenance behaviors for same-sex couples and heterosexuals: Haas and Stafford (1998, 2005). Although these studies found similarities between heterosexual and homosexual relationships, significant differences emerged involving social networks and meta-relational talk. Haas and Stafford attributed these differences to the lack of societal and legal support. The present thesis examined empirically the link between perceived social approval, and relational maintenance behaviors, focusing on differences between cross-sex and same-sex involvements. Dainton and Stafford's (1993) typology of social network compositions, measures of social approval and encouragement based on Felmlee (2001), and Canary and Stafford's (1992) five behavior relational maintenance typology tool with Haas and Stafford's (2005) measures of meta-relational talk were utilized for an online survey. A total of 157 online, geographically diverse surveys were collected from heterosexual and homosexual individuals involved stable, intimate relationships. Unique to this study, results demonstrate significant correlations between overall social approval and the use of relational maintenance behaviors for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Previous literature has linked lack of social approval with the use of unique maintenance strategies employed by same-sex couples; however, findings from the present study do not support this. Interestingly, increases in overall social approval, not decreases, are positively correlated with the use of meta-relational talk for same-sex couples.
- The influence of social approval and support on the maintenance behaviors of same-sex and heterosexual relationships
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Statement of Responsibility
by Patrick McDonald