BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A new study that explores how partners in same-sex relationships handle depression finds that while both gay and lesbian partners offer support to a partner who’s depressed, only lesbians tended to offer support back when they were depressed.
The study, conducted by researchers from various universities, is slated to be published in the December issue of Social Science & Medicine.
Previous research showed that among straight couples, wives were more likely than husbands to offer support to a depressed spouse and they’re also more likely to try to shield their depression from spouses.
The findings came from in-depth interviews with 26 gay and lesbian couples in which one or both partners reported depression.
Support around depression is sometimes viewed as improving the relationship, but if the support is intensive or rejected, it is often viewed as contributing to relationship strain, researchers found. Support is also sometimes withdrawn by the non-depressed partner because of caregiver exhaustion or the perception that the support is unhelpful.
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