Methods: Data came from a larger community-based online survey with sexual minority men in Taiwan while we selected the gay men who were in a romantic relationship sub-sample for this study (n = 557; mean age = 28.2, standard deviation = 6.1). Due to the particularity and the hard-to-reach nature of the target population, non-probability purposive and snowball sampling were used to recruit participants in Taiwan during May 11 – 27, 2019. They completed the scales of distal minority stress, internalized homophobia, relationship satisfaction, and depressive symptoms. Mediation and moderation analyses were performed on the macro PROCESS. The Johnson-Neyman (J-N) technique was used to interpret the moderating effect of relationship satisfaction.
Results: Both distal minority stress and internalized homophobia were positively associated with respondents’ depressive symptoms. Internalized homophobia partially mediated the association between distal minority stress and depressive symptoms. Relationship satisfaction had a moderating effect. The negative effect of distal minority stress decreased among those who reported high satisfaction in their current romantic relationship.
Implications: The findings on the moderating effect of relationship satisfaction on distal minority stress expand the source of protective factors covered by the minority stress model to the couple-level relationship. Besides, the study implicates the importance of intimate relationships to individuals, and hence advocates the elimination of shame proneness to intimacy rooting in traditional Chinese culture and calls for the provision of relationship education services. Clinicians should attend to relationship issues when working with sexual minority clients.