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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 11, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 24
Study finds kids raised by Lesbians are well-adjusted
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Study finds kids raised by Lesbians are well-adjusted

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

A 25-year study concluded that children raised by Lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavior problems than their peers.

The study, published June 7 in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 Lesbian couples that conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's wellbeing through a series of questionnaires and interviews.

Although more common these days, Gay parenting still remains an issue with the general populace with many people debating the children's psychological adjustment.

The research was reportedly funded by several LGBT advocacy groups - the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association, to name a few. According to the author of the study, the funding sources played no role in the design or conduct of the study.

"My personal investment is in doing reputable research," said Dr. Nanette Gartrell, who authored the study. "This is a straightforward statistical analyses. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review by the people who make the decision whether to publish it or not."

Gartrell started the study in 1986. She recruited subjects through announcements in bookstores, at Lesbian events, and in newspapers throughout Massachusetts, California, and Washington.

According to the study, the mothers were interviewed during pregnancy or the insemination process, and again when the children were 2, 5, 10 and 17 years old.

The children were interviewed four times as they matured, culminating with an online questionnaire at age 17 which focused on their psychological adjustment, peer and family relationships, and academic progress.

According to Gartrell, to assess their wellbeing, she used the Child Behavioral Checklist; a commonly used standard to measure children's behavioral and social problems such as anxiety, depression, aggressive behavior and social competence. The answers were coded into a computer and then analyzed. The data was compared with that from children of non-Lesbian families.

The study found that children of Lesbian families rated higher in social, academic, and total competence. They also showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking, and aggressive problem behavior.

Some of the teenagers reported being stigmatized by peers because of their parents' sexuality. Researchers compared the figures in terms of the psychological adjustment between children who had experienced stigma versus those who did not. They found no difference.

Gartrell said she studied only Lesbian families because circumstances surrounding Gay male families are different. Research shows that Gay men becoming parents is newer in comparison with Lesbians because their options have been limited to adoption or surrogacy. Lesbians often conceive through donor insemination.

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