Free to Live their Lives as they Wish?
The Social Well-Being Gap between Persons in Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Relationships in Europe
This dissertation is a survey-based comparative study into the social well-being of persons in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. I conducted four empirical studies: two country comparisons within Europe and two within the Netherlands. My findings show that there is a gap in well-being among sexual minorities relative to heterosexuals, not only in the well-documented pathological sense but also in a social sense. In some cases, I established a direct link with the attitudes held in society and the presence of laws that are supportive of sexual minorities. In other cases, persisting structural differences between persons in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships emerged that need further investigation. The use of survey data to study sexual minorities and heterosexuals jointly is notoriously challenging. A substantial part of the dissertation is therefore dedicated to the evaluation of potential threats to data quality, possible solutions and recommendations for best practices.
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