Social Context and the Stability of Same-Sex and Different-Sex Relationships

Kara Joyner, Bowling Green State University
Ryan Bogle, Bowling Green State University

Scholarly and media attention to same-sex relationships has skyrocketed in recent years, yet few studies have compared the stability of same-sex couples and different-sex couples using population-based samples from the United States. Using data on the most recent romantic and sexual relationships of respondents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we document higher rates of dissolution for men with same-sex partners relative to men and women with different-sex partners and women with same-sex partners. However, when men in same-sex relationships reside in neighborhoods with relatively large concentrations of same-sex cohabiting couples, they enjoy rates of stability similar to those observed for other groups. Our results have implications for theories and future research concerning how social context shapes the dynamics of relationships.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households