U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-year-old Adolescents

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Children raised since birth in lesbian-mother families display healthy psychological adjustment and outperform their heterosexual-raised counterparts in some areas, according to this new study in the journal Pediatrics. The study, conducted by Nanette Gartrell of the Center of Excellence in Women’s Health at the University of California, San Francisco,  and Henry Bos of the Graduate School of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, is the longest running study of children raised in lesbian-mother households.

The study began in 1986 with the recruitment of lesbian couples who were planning to conceive using donor insemination.  Seventy-seven families with a total of 78 children (one set of twins) were used for the sample that was then compared to a gender-matched sample of American teenagers.

The study found that 17-year-olds in the longitudinal study rated significantly higher in social, school/academic and total competence, and significantly lower in rule-breaking, aggressive and externalizing problem behavior than the comparison group.

Data was collected from the birth mothers and the children over the past 17 years through structured interviews and questionnaires given at specific intervals. Topics covered by the questionnaires included any instances of teasing the children may have endured because of their non-traditional families and other behaviors over the previous six months.

Free, 11 pages. http://www.nllfs.org/publications/pdf/peds.2009-3153v1.pdf.