Staying well together, social support and well-being among lesbian couples in Manitoba

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Mitchell, Jan
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This research examines experiences of health and social support among a sample of nine lesbian couples, and two individuals in Manitoba. The project used a feminist, qualitative approach. The research goal is to gain an understanding of the experiences of lesbian couples coping with an illness or disability, and the social support in their lives in relation to these experiences. On the basis of the narrative accounts of the women in this study, it is evident that illness and disability are stressful experiences, and that being lesbian (whether or not one is closeted) may make accessing social support, and effective, appropriate health and social services difficult. The women report receiving the most helpful social support from their partners, and generally less support from co-workers, family and friends. The findings suggest that there is a need to create more lesbian-friendly services and policies, so that the health and well-being of lesbians in general, and those with serious illnesses or disabilities are not further compromised. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)