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Read about Search Operators for some powerful new tools. Civil law. Regional planning. Because we were interested in recruitment inclusion of LGB couples, any research that included recruitment of LGB couples were rated as inclusive, non-biased articles, regardless of whether they later excluded them from analyses. In this case, the entire article was reviewed. All questionable articles were subjected to a third review by the first author and if necessary, consensus discussions by the team of reviewers in order to determine if other information in the paper indicated recruitment criteria.
For example, one recruitment ad invited female students in love with a partner to participate in a study. They were also required to bring an opposite sex friend or acquaintance with them that was the same attractiveness of their partner, and the same sex as their partner. This recruitment strategy excludes same-sex couples from participating. In this case, the authors of those papers were emailed and asked to clarify their recruitment inclusion and exclusion criteria. Specifically, they were asked if they included or excluded samesex couples from participation in their study.
Overall, there was agreement between raters on The Kappa statistic between the two raters was 0. In order to examine if exclusion rates differed across the entire decade, exclusion rates were plotted for each year Figure 1.
The results reveal that the inclusion of LGB couples in relationship research on health did not improve across the decade. As predicted, we found that LGB couples were systematically excluded from participating in research studies on romantic relationships and health in the decade between and Our findings support previous reviews of relationship research that indicate that LGB couples are generally excluded from studies, although the findings from each study are generalized as if pertaining to all relationships [ 16 , 17 ].
Although the exclusion rates of LGB couples has not improved in the past decade, there seems to have been a shift in the language used to describe romantic relationships. However, as demonstrated by the results of this review, there is a disconnect between the use of inclusionary language and actual research practice.
Moving to new terminology without actually including same-sex couples now hides the fact that they are excluded, rendering generalizations made from papers concerning couples or romantic partners misleading. This returns us to the conclusion that researchers do not set out to be biased [ 18 ] and may even adopt new language in order to reflect their good intentions. However, the scientific study of implicit associations [ 19 ] and a recent meta-analysis on the topic outlines that it is common to hold attitudes formed early in life that we are not consciously aware of as a result of societal attitudes and practice, such as stereotypes of about race , gender, age and sexual orientation.
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It is also understood that these negative associations may predict or shape behavior without the particular overt knowledge by the individual because these associations are likely to diverge from self-reported beliefs and behaviors [ 20 ]. Thus, researchers may be unconsciously biased in their recruitment practices without their conscious awareness. As reviewed above, social exclusion at the community level can have detrimental relationship and health consequences for marginalized individuals [ 10 , 12 , 21 ].
The Tri-Council Policy Statement [ 22 ] that governs ethical conduct for research involving humans recognizes this. In Article 4. Researchers shall not exclude individuals from the opportunity to participate in research on the basis of attributes such as culture, language, religion, race, disability, sexual orientation , ethnicity, linguistic proficiency, gender or age, unless there is a valid reason for the exclusion.
Sampling: Research on biological markers, brain imaging and dyadic daily diary methodology can be time consuming and expensive research to conduct, often necessitating small samples. It may be the case that researchers seek to confirm if a significant phenomenon is present in a homogeneous sample before expanding research recruitment to include diverse couples.
Expectations may exist that future scientists who specialize in LGB research will replicate the specific studies conducted that are limited to heterosexual couples in order to explore similarities and differences. However, given the years required to gain expertise in these research areas and the small number of researchers who conduct research on LGB relationships, it is unlikely that these same studies will be replicated with LGB couples for some time or that LGB researchers will choose to focus on these exact same questions.
Additionally, while one study may not be able to recruit a large enough sample size of LGB couples, participants from multiple studies may be combined to conduct a meta-analysis [ 9 ]. Thus, allowing LGB couples to participate broadly in research may open the door to further insights about the application of research on romantic relationships for sexual minority individuals. It is also possible that LGB individuals may hesitate to participate in research because they believe researchers are not looking to recruit them.
The question of biology. If the reasoning for excluding samesex partnered individuals is that some underlying biological difference relevant to relationships science exists, then we would expect some evidence upon which to predicate this assumption.
Chapter 14. Marriage and Family
However, almost no studies have actually been conducted on the question, and the ones that have [ 23 ] found that samesex and other-sex couples showed no significant differences in romantic love. Zeki and Romaya conducted a neuroimaging study on correlates of romantic love and found no differences in the activation of brain areas when comparing same-sex couples with heterosexual couples.
Further, studies of sex hormones and relationship status among sexually diverse individuals has not yielded differences based on sexual orientation. But we have no empirical reason to a priori exclude same-sex partnered individuals from general research on relationships, especially when the only available evidence points to similarities in biology. Minority stress. Growing evidence exists that sexual minorities experience highly elevated rates of familial, peer and societal victimization [ 25 - 27 ]. This additional stress has been conceptualized as the minority stress model and researchers demonstrate that this contributes to health disparities evident between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals [ 28 , 29 ].
It is possible that some researchers may exclude same-sex couples out of concern that same-sex couplings are fundamentally different as a result of experiencing such marginalization. While this may be true, little research has been conducted on this topic. Further, same-sex couples are not the only minority couples that experience the burden of minority stress. Deskins and Bettinger point out the bitter bigotry that still exists in particular geographical regions of the United States for mixed race couples particularly couples composed of Black and White individuals [ 30 ].
Lehmiller and Agnew examined the impact of social disapproval on romantic relationship commitment among three types of couples with physically observable characteristics that draw social disapproval [ 31 ]. Specifically, individuals engaged in interracial, same-sex, and age-gap greater than a 10 year difference in age relationships. They found that there were no differences in perceived marginalization between the groups of marginalized couples but that all marginalized couples experienced significantly more social disapproval than traditional couples [ 31 ]. Interestingly, they found that the relationships of marginalized couples did indeed differ from traditional couples.
While marginalization predicted less relationship investment, marginalized couples were more likely to be committed than non-marginalized couples. This research supports the idea that marginalized couples may experience their relationships in a different way than non-marginalized couples. New articles by this author. New citations to this author. New articles related to this author's research.
- Exclusion of Sexual Minority Couples from Research.
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