AbstractDespite its connection with relationship satisfaction, research on physical affection is scarce and fails to disentangle private and public displays of affection. It is important to examine both types if marginalized couples are less comfortable displaying affection publicly. The present study examined whether same-sex couples display less public (but not private) physical affection than different-sex couples due to stronger feelings of relationship marginalization. It also examined how public/private affection and marginalization relate to relationship satisfaction. Women in committed same-sex and different-sex relationships completed surveys of public affection, private affection, marginalization, and relationship satisfaction online. As predicted, women in same-sex relationships displayed less public affection than those in different-sex relationships, an effect mediated by general societal marginalization. Both private and public affection predicted higher relationship satisfaction, whereas feelings of marginalization by friends/family predicted lower relationship satisfaction. We discuss implications for relationship counseling and propose new ways of looking at marginalization.
Erin Kent, Eastern Washington University
Amani El-Alayli, Eastern Washington University