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New Study Reveals No Differences in Family Relationships of Same-Sex Vs. Hetero Parents

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Households with same-sex parents show no differences from those with hetero parents according to a recent study by researchers affiliated with the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, The University of Amsterdam and Columbia University. The study found that with regard to spouse or partner relationships, parent-child relationships, or children’s general health, emotional difficulties, coping and learning behavior, there were no differences.

“This study is the first to use a nationally representative survey to compare the two types of households by focusing only on those with parents that have been in a continuous relationship,” said lead author Henny Bos in a press release.

Titled “Same-sex and Different-sex Parent Households and Child Health Outcomes: Findings from the National Survey of Children’s Health,” the study compared family relationships, parenting stress and child outcomes in households with female-sex parents versus different-sex parents.

95 same-sex households were matched with 95 different-sex parents based on eight demographic characteristics: parental age, education, U.S. birth status, and current geographic location, and the child’s age, gender, race/ethnicity, and U.S. birth status.

Although the study found there were no differences in family relationships and child outcomes, same-sex parents were reported to experience more parenting stress.

“Future investigations might explore whether the cultural spotlight on child outcomes in same-sex parent families is associated with increased parenting stress,” said psychiatrist and co-author Nanette Gartrell. “Some of our earlier studies have shown that lesbian mothers feel pressured to justify the quality of their parenting because of their sexual orientation.”

The study is now published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 

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