Study Of Same-Sex Parents Finds Kids Are As Good Or Better Off Than Traditional Families

Sorcha Szczerbiak

The largest study of its kind has found that kids who are raised by same-sex parents do as well, or in some instances, even better than those who are part of traditional families. Something that makes this same-sex parenting study unique is that prior studies have been somewhat limited by small sample sizes.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne tracked 315 same-sex parents and 500 kids that made up their respective offspring. The majority of the same sex parents in the study were lesbians. Specifically, 80 percent of the kids were raised by females, and 18 percent were reared by males. Scientists used a number of standardized measures to compare the well-being of the children who had same-sex parents to the general youth population in Australia.

Demographic factors such as education levels of the same-sex parents and the amount of income earned by the household were also accounted for in order to paint a complete picture of the living environments experienced by each child raised by same-sex parents. Even when those characteristics were examined, the majority of kids raised by gay couples were found to have equal scores compared to kids from the general population related to matters including emotional behavior and physical function.

In terms of general health and family cohesion, kids of same-sex parents scored six points better than their peers that were part of traditional family units. The study authors said since the same-sex parents tended not to perpetuate gender stereotypes, that could have something to do with why the kids of gay couples fared better on some scoring scales. However, the scientists clarified how kids that are raised by same-sex parents continue to experience stigma, and that created a negative impact at a mental and emotional level.

One of the goals of the study was to determine to what extent stigma played a role in the development of kids. The data about the child's physical, emotional, and mental well-being was self-reported by the same-sex parents.

In an article from ABC, the study's lead author Simon Crouch clarified how this study suggests that kids can be successfully brought up in many different scenarios, including by same-sex parents. Historically, the belief that it's best for kids to be raised by both a male and female parent has been a major barrier in efforts to achieve marriage equality.

According to recent data gathered by the Census Bureau, there are over 33,000 families with same-sex parents living in Australia.

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