child development

Longest-Running Study on Same-Sex Parenting Confirms What We’ve Always Known: the Kids Are Just Fine

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Goodness gracious, what a shocker! In news that should be surprising to no one (at least, anyone who isn’t a homophobic bigot), a study has confirmed that children of same-sex parents grow up to be just fine. The longest-running same-sex parenting study ever conducted released its findings last week, and let’s just say, the one-mom-one-dad folks couldn’t have been more wrong.

The National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) is the longest-running same-sex parenting study ever completed. It started in 1986, and had a 92% retention rate.

The study followed children of same-sex parents from conception through adulthood. During the first phase of the study, from 1966-1992, researchers recruited 154 mothers from planned lesbian families. The families were located in Boston, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. The mothers conceived their children through artificial insemination. The families were followed through pregnancy, infancy, childhood, and into adulthood.

In the sixth phase of the study, the now-adult children were given the standardized Achenbach Adult Self-Report.

The test measured the psychological health of 77 adult kids from lesbian families. The participants were by then 25 years old. The demographics were broken down as 49.4% female, 90.9% white, and 87.0% with a college degree or higher. The Adult Self-Report is “a validated, self-rating form for measuring adaptive functioning and behavioral or emotional problems among adults between the ages of 18 and 59 years.” The results from the tests were matched with the normative sample of other people in the U.S. Case-control matching was used for testing, as well.

The data showed that adults who grew up with same-sex parents show no significant differences when it comes to mental health.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell is the lead author on the study. She says, “When I began this study in 1986, there was considerable speculation about the future mental health of children conceived through donor insemination and raised by sexual minority parents. We have followed these families since the mothers were inseminating or pregnant and now find that their 25-year-old daughters and sons score as well on mental health as other adults of the same age.”

This same-sex parenting study was limited in scope, and the researchers acknowledge that. But for a study of this length, the findings are incredibly significant. Once again: it’s not about the sex of your parents. It’s just about having good parents!

(Image: iStock/Lisa5201)