Marriage Amendments and Psychological Distress in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) Adults

Sharon Scales Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Sharon G. Horne, Angela D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

216 Scopus citations


An online survey of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults (N = 1,552) examined minority stress (I. H. Meyer, 2003) and psychological distress following the 2006 general election in which constitutional amendments to limit marriage to 1 man and 1 woman were on the ballot in 9 states. Following the November election, participants living in states that passed a marriage amendment reported significantly more minority stress (i.e., exposure to negative media messages and negative conversations, negative amendment-related affect, and LGB activism) and higher levels of psychological distress (negative affect, stress, and depressive symptoms) than participants living in the other states. Multiple hierarchical regression analyses revealed significant positive main effects of minority stress factors and state ballot status on psychological distress. In addition, the association between amendment-related affect and psychological distress was significantly higher in states that had passed a marriage amendment compared with other states. Discussion of these findings emphasizes that marriage amendments create an environment associated with negative psychological outcomes for LGB individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • bisexual
  • gay
  • lesbian
  • minority stress
  • psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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