Awareness and equity of behavioral sacrifice and same-sex relationship quality: Heterosexist discrimination as a distal predictor

Xiaomin Li, Zhenqiang Zhao, Melissa Curran, W. Roger Mills-Koonce, Hongjian Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: We included two sacrifice constructs to reflect the awareness and (in)equity of behavioral sacrifice in same-sex relationships: (a) the receiver's awareness (whether the receiver under-, over-, or unbiasedly estimated the other's frequency of sacrifice behaviors) and (b) the provider's perceived (in)equity (whether the provider perceived themselves as underbenefitted, overbenefitted, or equitably treated). We then tested how heterosexist discrimination related to same-sex couples' relationship quality via receivers' awareness and providers' perceived (in)equity. Background: Sacrifices are pro-relationship efforts in which individuals forgo self-interests for the partner or the relationship. The links from sacrifice to same-sex couples' relationship quality are still understudied. Further, no study has examined whether sexual minority stressors relate to sacrifice in same-sex relationships. Method: We used dyadic, survey data from 141 same-sex couples and conducted actor–partner interdependence models. Results: For receivers' awareness, unbiased estimation and overestimation were related to higher relationship quality; underestimation was related to lower relationship quality. For providers' perceived (in)equity, being underbenefitted—a situation in which individuals perceived that the other made fewer sacrifices than they did—was related to lower relationship quality. For indirect pathways, when one individual encountered heterosexist discrimination, this individual's sacrifice was likely underestimated by the receiver; in turn, this individual's partner experienced low relationship quality. Conclusions: To better understand sacrifice and relationship quality for same-sex couples, heterosexist discrimination should be considered. Implications: Interventions are needed when practitioners work with same-sex couples who feel that their sacrifices were underestimated, and efforts are still needed to reduce heterosexist discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3100-3116
Number of pages17
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • heterosexist discrimination
  • relationship quality
  • sacrifice
  • same-sex couples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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