Samantha Tornello will discuss how for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, transition to parenthood often includes increases in stress, along with new roles and expectations for each member of the couple. According to minority stress theory (MST), same-sex couples often experience additional stressors specifically related to their sexual minority status. Among a sample of 68 new and expecting sexual minority mothers (34 couples), I explored the intrapersonal and interpersonal influences of sexuality-related stigma, identity, disclosure (“outness”), and social support on the wellbeing of each partner. In all, I found support for MST, such that greater sexuality stigma was associated with poorer wellbeing, but this relationship functioned differently depending on the gestational role of the mother.
Hosted by the International Center for Coparenting Policy and Research
About the Presenter
The majority of Dr. Tornello’s work has focused on the role of family composition and parental sexual orientation and gender in the family system (children’s development, parental dynamics, and couple functioning). How do variations (e.g., pathways to parenthood or division of unpaid labor) and changes (e.g., divorce) in family composition relate to family members’ development and functioning? Specifically, for this area of work she is interested in the role and experiences of parents across gender and sexual orientation, as it relates to individual development within these differently designed families.
Dr. Tornello’s research also focuses on the experiences of becoming a parent among sexual and gender minority individuals. How do sexual and gender minority people decide to become parents and what methods do they use to create their families? How do these families function? What are the unique challenges, strengths, and issues among this population? How can we harvest the resiliency and minimize the risk impacting sexual and gender minority people and their families?