This dissertation used a quantitative method of analysis to explore well-being among couples with different types of legal unions: legal marriage, civil unions, registered domestic partnership. Specifically, this study examined individual, relational, social, and familial components of well-being. Individuals in legally recognized same-sex relationships were recruited for this study. Participants were asked to complete an internet-based survey. Social constructionism provided the theoretical framework for this study. Results show differences among individuals in legally married unions compared to individuals in all other forms of legal unions on measures of satisfaction with life, psychological and physical well-being. Additionally, the results show strong effects for legal marriage on individual well-being when considering couple satisfaction and social support from families and friends. Conclusions for this study suggest that legal marriage may offer a higher level of individual well-being in comparison to other forms of legal unions, while relationship well-being is consistent across all three forms of legal unions.
Counseling and Family Sciences
School of Behavioral Health
Fox, Curtis A.
Gates, Gary J.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Same-sex marriage; Civil Unions; Gay Couples; Unmarried Couples; Well-being; Quality of Life; Social Constructionism; Social Psychology
Subject - Local
Legal Unions; Legal Marriage - Psychological Effects
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Schwenke, Naomi J., "Legal Marriage, Civil Unions, Registered Domestic Partnership and Well-being among Same-Sex Couples" (2015). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 254.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives