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



Children raised since birth in lesbian-mother families display healthy psychological adjustment and outperform their heterosexual- and male homosexual-raised counterparts in some areas, according to this new study in the journal Pediatrics. This report, 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, the Netherlands, is part of the nation’s longest-running study of children raised in lesbian-mother households.

The study that began in 1986 with the recruitment of lesbian couples who were planning to conceive using donor insemination. Seventy-seven U.S. families with a total of 78 children were used for the sample, which was compared with 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 were collected from the birth mothers and 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 over the previous six months because of their nontraditional families and other behaviors.

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