Heather Has Two Mommies and Fewer Problems: Study Finds Children of Lesbian Parents Have Fewer Emotional Problems

A 25-year study has been released with a finding that children raised in lesbian households are psychologically well-adjusted and have fewer behavioral problems than children of hetereosexual parents.

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, was conducted by Dr. Nanette Gartrel lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups, such as the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association.

Dr. Gartrel insists that such funding had no impact on her impartiality: “This is a straightforward statistical analysis. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review by the people who make the decision whether or not to publish it.”

I never quite know how to view these studies. I am less concerned about the funding than the interest of the subjects in reporting positive results. Of course, that would be a problem in heterosexual participants as well.

I have always found arguments against gay parents to be forced and illogical — based on stereotypes and homophobia. It certainly does not surprise me that there are no greater problems with children of gay parents, but this study suggests that there are fewer problems. If true, the reasons would be interesting. One possible explanation is that gay parents have to struggle harder for children and thus tend to be better prepared and more committed than the average parent. Another may be better education and wealth on average with gay parents — since (again) it takes greater effort to become parents if you are gay or lesbian. This remains a much smaller group than heterosexual parents who often have children with no planning or highly limited resources.

The results are impressive given the continuing barriers presented to gay parents in schooling and other aspects of parenting.

What do you think?

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11 thoughts on “Heather Has Two Mommies and Fewer Problems: Study Finds Children of Lesbian Parents Have Fewer Emotional Problems”

  1. The study was between lesbian couples. I take that to mean WOMEN. So there you go. This explains it. Women are much better parents, than men. They are more nuturing. There is nothing more to discuss.

  2. “This remains a much smaller group than heterosexual parents who often have children with no planning or highly limited resources.”

    I think this hits the nail on the head. No homosexual couple ever had a kid that they hadn’t had all the time in the world to prepare for. Heterosexual couples, by contrast, get surprised by them all the time, even with contraceptive efforts, and that tilts the scales.

  3. It’s not the website for Pediatrics and the article is unfortunately from CNN which is brain dead when it comes to evaluating research. I’ll have to see the article before saying too much.

    In the meantime, though, several problems–unclear if they controlled for any differences in education between lesbian and non-lesbian families. Despite stereotypes, gays’ incomes are actually somewhat less than those of straights. The sampling is based on convenience and the accrual of people in 1986 would have tapped into a then-very novel population who may be different from gay and lesbian parents of today.

    The relative absence of stereotypical sex roles may account for the outcome—gay/lesbian couples tend to be more equal in sharing different spheres of responsibility. Having two responsible parents as opposed to letting kids be “de facto” the mother’s sphere may create an environment that provides more structure and less nonsense.

    Funding is an issue and one would need to know the track record of the organizations that provided funding. Drug company funded trials often use weaker methods. the methods here are not available because the paper is not widely distributed yet.

  4. OOOOOOO! This’ll get their eyeballs twisted up and their heads exploding in Colorado Springs.

  5. Anyone can be a sperm doner. It takes a special person to be a parent, regardless of sex.

  6. “Personally, I am not bothered who adopts a child so long as they are good parents.”

    Ditto

  7. At first my thought was “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

    But our host makes some very reasonable points.

    Personally, I am not bothered who adopts a child so long as they are good parents.

  8. “… Another may be better education and wealth on average with gay parents …”

    One would hope that anything called a “statistical analysis” would control for such factors, i.e. make sure that both groups had the same composition.

  9. I agree with the Professor’s analysis, but regardless of the reasons, I’m glad the study came out this way:

    Florida’s ban on gay adoption is still on the books (although law suits that succeeded at challenging it at the trial court level are working their way through the appeals process).

    That law is a huge mark of shame on Florida that I’d like to see done away with.

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