Sexual Minority Status and Happiness

Mieke B. Thomeer, University of Texas at Austin
Corinne Reczek, University of Cincinnati

Research shows that sexual minorities face many economic, health, and social disadvantages compared to heterosexuals. These disparities may contribute to lower subjective well-being for sexual minorities. We use nationally representative data and logistic regression to estimate the relationship between sexual minority status— conceptualized in this study as reported sex of sexual partner(s)—and happiness, a subjective measure of well-being. Results indicate that respondents who report only same-sex partners and respondents who report only different-sex partners have similar levels of happiness. However, respondents who report both same- and different-sex partners are comparatively less happy than their comparison groups. This happiness disadvantage for those with both same- and different-sex partners is fully explained by differences in health, socioeconomic status, and social ties, with social ties being the most consequential. This study contributes to our understanding of the current state of stratification by sexual minority status in American society.

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Presented in Session 85: Sexual Identity: Formation