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JSUCamel
06-07-2010, 11:19 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/06/07/lesbian.children.adjustment/index.html?hpt=Sbin

(CNN) -- A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews.

Funding for the research came from several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups, such as the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the author of the study, wrote that the "funding sources played no role in the design or conduct of the study."

"My personal investment is in doing reputable research," said Gartrell. "This is a straightforward statistical analysis. It will stand and it has withstood very rigorous peer review by the people who make the decision whether or not to publish it."

Gay parenting remains a controversial issue, with debates about topics including the children's psychological adjustment, their parents' sexual orientation and adoption restrictions.

Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America, a group that supports biblical values, questioned the legitimacy of the findings from a study funded by gay advocacy groups.

"That proves the prejudice and bias of the study," she said. "This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome -- to attempt to sway people that children are not detrimentally affected in a homosexual household."

Gartrell started the study in 1986. She recruited subjects through announcements in bookstores, lesbian events and newspapers throughout metro Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California, and Washington.

The mothers were interviewed during pregnancy or the insemination process, and additionally when the children were 2, 5, 10 and 17 years old. Those children are now 18 to 23 years old.

They were interviewed four times as they matured and also completed an online questionnaire at age 17, focusing on their psychological adjustment, peer and family relationships and academic progress.

To assess their well-being, Gartrell used the Child Behavior Checklist, a commonly used standard to measure children's behavioral and social problems, such as anxiety, depression, aggressive behavior and social competence.

The answers were coded into a computer and then analyzed. This data was compared with data from children of nonlesbian families.

The results surprised Gartrell.

"I would have anticipated the kids would be doing as well as the normative sample," she said. "I didn't expect better."

Children from lesbian families rated higher in social, academic and total competence. They also showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking, aggressive problem behavior.

The involvement of mothers may be a contributing factor, in addition to the fact that the pregnancies were planned, Gartrell said.

Tell iReport: Growing up with gay parents

The children "didn't arrive by accident," she said. "The mothers were older... they were waiting for an opportunity to have children and age brings maturity and better parenting."

This also could have occurred because "growing up in households with less power assertion and more parental involvement has been shown to be associated with healthier psychological adjustment," Gartrell wrote in the study.

Some of the teenagers reported being stigmatized by peers because of their parents' sexuality. Researchers compared the figures in terms of the psychological adjustment between children who had experienced stigma versus those who did not.

"We found no differences," Gartrell said. "That leads us to asking why and how are young people managing discrimination? That will be the topic of future papers. We'll look into what the ingredients are to allow them to cope despite adversity."

Gartrell studied only lesbian families, because circumstances surrounding gay male families are different. Gay men becoming fathers is newer in comparison with lesbians, because their options have been limited to adoption or surrogacy. Lesbians often conceive through donor insemination.

"This study shows that the 17-year-old adolescents who have been reared by lesbian families are psychologically happy and high functioning," said Gartrell, a Williams distinguished scholar at the UCLA School of Law. Restrictions of child custody and reproductive technologies based on sexual orientation are not justified, she said.

Wright questioned the objectivity of Gartrell's research, saying the author can "cherry pick people who are involved and the info they release."

"In essence, this study claims to purport that children do better when raised by lesbians," she said.

Studies have shown that children thrive having both a mother and a father, Wright said.

"You have to be a little suspicious of any study that says children being raised by same-sex couples do better or have superior outcomes to children raised with a mother and father," she said. "It just defies common sense and reality."

I'm not surprised at all by this, and it's somewhat amusing (and horrifying) to me that people think there's some sort of inherent instability for gay couples with children, and that for kids of lesbians to have fewer behavior problems "defies common sense"... that makes my head hurt.

I'm not a lesbian (obviously) or even gay (sorry, Dav :p jk), but I can say that in my relationships, a lot of the instability came from power struggles -- she expected me to take charge, or whatever -- and if that didn't happen, boom.. problems. I would imagine that if the power structure were more of a sharing situation than one person that's "supposed" to be in charge, things would be a lot better.

Plus the article mentions that lesbian pregnancies are always planned and that they tend to wait until they're older and more mature before planning that sort of thing... so I guess what drives me nuts about this article is the plethora of people that say it defies common sense, and that straight couples are "obviously" more superior, and by God, if they're gay, they can't possibly raise a kid properly.

Also, if you have a history of high blood pressure, do not read the comments on the article. Side effects may include increased blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, broken monitors, extreme cursing, and even death. If these effects last for more than 2 hours after reading the article, please enter the padded room and scream until your lungs burst.

Davian93
06-07-2010, 11:29 AM
Stable 2 parent relationships lead to better behaved kids?

I'm shocked.

Ivhon
06-07-2010, 11:31 AM
I love it. Maybe this will help to someday get the Church OUT of State.

Tree Brother
06-07-2010, 11:47 AM
Stable 2 parent relationships lead to better behaved kids?

I'm shocked.

Haven't read the study. However, the choice of the group influences the outcome (as pointed out by Davian).

Following children of a "stable 2 parent relationship" will probably produce "well adjusted children". But is it really better than a "stable male/female parent relationship"?

Problem is that in today's society, with the low commitment to marriage, I am unsure what they are comparing to. If they compare the children of stable heterosexual couples to children of stable lesbian couples, I suppose that would have meaning. Also, I would expect the gender of the children to have some impact to the study as well. (The whole role-model issue).

JSUCamel
06-07-2010, 11:57 AM
Problem is that in today's society, with the low commitment to marriage, I am unsure what they are comparing to. If they compare the children of stable heterosexual couples to children of stable lesbian couples, I suppose that would have meaning. Also, I would expect the gender of the children to have some impact to the study as well. (The whole role-model issue).

Well, they didn't really go into great detail, but it's suggested that they studied "normal heterosexual relationships", as opposed to "stable heterosexual relationships". The "normal" bit might possibly include single mothers or single fathers, or divorced parents with joint custody... it doesn't really specify.

I do think a better comparison would be to compare lesbian couples with straight couples that adopt children, as many more of those criteria would be similar (planned, stable relationship, etc).

Sinistrum
06-07-2010, 11:59 AM
Interesting results. At this point, there are so many competing theories on parenting out there that nothing would surprise me. While I'm not completely discounting the study, I have to say that the fact that the funding for it came from advocacy groups concerns me, the assurances of the scientists involved notwithstanding. However, I think the article hit on a big thing that perhaps may shed some light on the results.

The involvement of mothers may be a contributing factor, in addition to the fact that the pregnancies were planned, Gartrell said.

Gay or straight, I figure as long as you are an involved parent and the pregnancy was wanted, that gives your children a leg up. I think maybe this is such a huge factor in lesbian base households because its sort of difficult for them to have an unplanned pregancy.

Uno
06-07-2010, 12:07 PM
The sample consists of people who planned the pregnancies, could afford artificial insemination, were recruited through bookstores, lebians events, and newspapers. In other words, there are obvious issues of social class and education here, but that's not really the point, as the point of the study is really to determine whether children brought by lesbian couples suffered as a consequence of the unorthodox family situation. The findings suggest that they don't.

GonzoTheGreat
06-07-2010, 12:15 PM
I do think a better comparison would be to compare lesbian couples with straight couples that adopt children, as many more of those criteria would be similar (planned, stable relationship, etc).From what I've read, adoption often results in more problems. Probably fewer than if the child hadn't been adopted at all, but more than in the case of "natural born children".

Of course, one could compare adoption by heterosexual couples to adoption by lesbians, but I'm not sure the latter is really legally possible where this study was done. See Ivhon's comment for this, if necessary.

Edited to add:
How did households where one man had a bunch of wives?

ShadowbaneX
06-07-2010, 01:20 PM
Studies are interesting. For nearly half a century there were countless studies done on smoking and yet there were always loopholes or counter studies which showed opposite findings.

As Uno pointed out, having stable, well educated, well planned, financially stable parents/family situation shouldn't surprisingly lead to stable children, but that in an of itself is slightly telling. Gay or straight doesn't have anything to do with it.

Want an interesting study? Do it blind. Study children being reared and keep who their parents are and the factors in their lives anonymous. Then when all is said and done, ie when they're all 25 or older, sort out the stable ones and the not so stable ones and THEN compare all the factors like background, planned vs unplanned, straight parents vs gay, single parents vs double. That would be a telling survey and it might well suggest that sexuality doesn't have too much to say in how a child is raised.

As for this one though, look to see another study come out soon funded by bible-thumpers studying lesbians in trailer parks and in towns not as nice as San Fran, Boston and Washington that all shows the exact opposite of what this study does.

Sei'taer
06-07-2010, 04:07 PM
hehe...it all comes back to this:

When there are no dicks around, things go better.

God, I'm such a loser.

Ivhon
06-07-2010, 05:46 PM
hehe...it all comes back to this:

When there are no dicks around, things go better.

God, I'm such a loser.

This is not news.

irerancincpkc
06-08-2010, 07:23 AM
Stable 2 parent relationships lead to better behaved kids?

I'm shocked.

This.

And I'm scared to look at the comments, so I won't... I think...

Sarevok
06-08-2010, 07:32 AM
This.

And I'm scared to look at the comments, so I won't... I think...

Your post got me curious, so I had a look. Surprisingly, the comments are mostly the same as here on TL.

Oatman
06-08-2010, 08:11 AM
I'm not surprised at all by this, and it's somewhat amusing (and horrifying) to me that people think there's some sort of inherent instability for gay couples with children, and that for kids of lesbians to have fewer behavior problems "defies common sense"... that makes my head hurt.

I don't think you read that correctly.

"You have to be a little suspicious of any study that says children being raised by same-sex couples do better or have superior outcomes to children raised with a mother and father," she said. "It just defies common sense and reality."

To me that's saying that same sex relations should be on equal standing, and that results finding a superiority for a same sex marriage don't make sense. The factors already mentioned by everyone else make much more sense.

Sei'taer
06-08-2010, 08:43 AM
The factors already mentioned by everyone else make much more sense.


Check it out, Ivhon! My factor made sense!

irerancincpkc
06-08-2010, 10:50 AM
Your post got me curious, so I had a look. Surprisingly, the comments are mostly the same as here on TL.

My faith in humanity is restored. :D

Birgitte
06-08-2010, 12:48 PM
Your post got me curious, so I had a look. Surprisingly, the comments are mostly the same as here on TL.

Not quite. No one on TL called someone a nincompoop which was my personal favorite comment that I read. lol

GonzoTheGreat
06-08-2010, 03:01 PM
Not quite. No one on TL called someone a nincompoop which was my personal favorite comment that I read. lolIf you ask me nicely, I would be willing to call you a nincompoop. :p

John Snow
06-08-2010, 03:14 PM
Quick thread highjack to announce I'm going to resume posting here again. My company has a little popup now when one opens FaceBook, saying something along the line of "We won't stop you from doing this, but are you sure you want to be such an inconsiderate oaf? If you do, we will know you did."

So, hmm, this looks like my place for brain relaxation. Anyway, /back on topic
Good friend of mine during grad school, Dorsey Greene, wrote a fine book on lesbian parenting. Seems to me from talking with her and being peripherally a part of that community, what lesbian and gay guy parents have that straight parents often don't is a strong community. That can make a big difference. Dorsey's kid certainly came out fine - he's 28 now, and working happily in GIS - wait, maybe that symbolizes that he's lost and trying to find his way! ;)

on edit:
Oh, yeah, Gonzo - multiple wives - hmm, that needs a study. My own limited experience (my wife's grandfathers) was not good. Lotta rivalry for inheritance, that kind of thing. If the stakes are significant, suspicious deaths. Not a pretty situation. That said, the second generation (my wife & her cousins) and the third seem to get along fine, with a couple of exceptions - but what family doesn't have black sheep.

Ivhon
06-08-2010, 03:24 PM
Lotta families in the deep south only have white sheep...

JSUCamel
06-08-2010, 04:09 PM
Lotta families in the deep south only have white sheep...

No, you're thinking of DT.

http://www.brianseitel.com/dt_sheep.png

nameless
06-08-2010, 11:25 PM
Actually this isn't all that surprising. The leading cause of behavioral problems is exposure to violence and women are less likely than men to hit their kids.

Ivhon
06-09-2010, 12:11 AM
Actually this isn't all that surprising. The leading cause of behavioral problems is exposure to violence and women are less likely than men to hit their kids.

Rather broad and difficult claims to substantiate on both counts.

There are quite a few realms of behavioral problems. ADHD is not considered to be causally linked to violence. Neither are autism spectrum disorders. Nor are Depression, Bipolar or Schizophrenia. ODD can be linked to violence in the family...but it is also linked to neglect - which, while sad and devastating, is not violent. Same with RAD.

Non-DSM diagnosable behavior problems can stem just as easily from permissiveness and neglect as they can from authoritarianism (and spanking).

So in order to say "the leading cause of behavioral problems is violence" you need to be quite a bit more specific about which behavior problems

Are women less likely to hit their kids than men? There are a lot of considerations in that claim as well. What socioeconomic levels and cultures do you have in mind there? Makes a difference. You also want to define "hitting." For example, a common thing child counselors see is a parent (usually the mother, by the way) who comes in saying her child hits siblings/other kids. Under very little probing, it turns out that spanking is the punishment for hitting (among other things). What message does that send a child? "DON'T HIT!!" *smack*

Furthermore, it is an assumption to conflate the impact of violence with the frequency of it. In domestic violence cases women initiate violence - by pushing, punching, slapping, throwing things - at least as much as men. Unfortunately for women, outcomes are skewed against them significantly (some part of this comes from men being far more likely to report or be taken seriously when they do report incidences of domestic abuse). Furthermore, women abusers of both men and children get much more lenient treatment from the courts than men - which heightens the perception that men are violent and women are not.

While it is true that the extremes of violent acts are committed by men, the behavior problems you might be referring to as being causally linked to behavior problems can arise from patterns of violence as much as the sheer brutality of individual incidents.

Finally, speaking of extremes, fathers (or presumably father-roles in the case of single-sex couples - not much research there, yet) have been demonstrated to have a more extreme impact both positive and negative.

Sorry to come down like that, but I don't think it is fair to fathers and particularly children to reduce the myriad varieties and impacts of bad parenting by either parent to essentially "behavior problems are due to male violence." It ignores a WHOLE lot of problems in other areas and puts undue blame on fathers, who already face what I consider to be an overblown and unfair stigma.

nameless
06-09-2010, 12:28 AM
Who told you there's no link between violent childhoods and depression? Victims of child abuse are much more likely to become depressed as adults.

You're right on the money with everything else, though... of course it matters what definition of violence you're using, with what frequency the child was exposed, what constitutes a "behavioral problem," etc. etc. And of course maternal violence can be just as traumatic.

Ivhon
06-09-2010, 12:41 AM
Who told you there's no link between violent childhoods and depression? Victims of child abuse are much more likely to become depressed as adults.


you're absolutely right. I threw Depression in there retroactively after seeing the other psychoaffective disorders listed and didn't totally think that inclusion through. Im still not convinced that violence in childhood would necessarily be the leading cause of depression, though - however, it could be - Im not fishing for evidence this late at night on that one (my opinion is that it is not the leading cause) :D For that matter, first psychotic breaks can be triggered by violence - although it is far more common to have them come from other factors.

nameless
06-09-2010, 02:39 PM
There are numerous factors contributing to depression, including history of trauma, genetic vulnerability, socio-economic background, presence of absence of learned helplessness, etc., but for my money if you had to pick just one piece of information to have in order to guess whether or not someone was at risk for depression you'd pick history of trauma. Of course in the real world no one diagnoses with just one piece of information, they look at the whole picture, but for a pop-science study like this where they just noted a statistical correlation with no chance of experimental controls the best you can hope to do is guess which missing factor is contributing to the statistical difference. There's no chance of seeing the whole picture for every one of the kids involved in the study.

I actually did see a study recently that showed pretty convincingly that men are more likely to abuse children than women... I don't have it handy right now but the gist of it is that they aren't much more likely to abuse their own children but men and women both are more likely to abuse step-children and children are more likely to live with their biological mother and step-father than the other way around. The same study found that paternal grandparents are much more likely to be abusive than maternal grandparents, though I'm not sure how that would apply to a lesbian couple. Maybe they'll start finding the same sorts of correlation based on which woman gave birth and which didn't?

Crispin's Crispian
06-09-2010, 02:41 PM
Ivhon, you need to check over your post. There are a few paragraphs without italic words.

Ivhon
06-09-2010, 02:58 PM
There are numerous factors contributing to depression, including history of trauma, genetic vulnerability, socio-economic background, presence of absence of learned helplessness, etc., but for my money if you had to pick just one piece of information to have in order to guess whether or not someone was at risk for depression you'd pick history of trauma. Of course in the real world no one diagnoses with just one piece of information, they look at the whole picture, but for a pop-science study like this where they just noted a statistical correlation with no chance of experimental controls the best you can hope to do is guess which missing factor is contributing to the statistical difference. There's no chance of seeing the whole picture for every one of the kids involved in the study.

I actually did see a study recently that showed pretty convincingly that men are more likely to abuse children than women... I don't have it handy right now but the gist of it is that they aren't much more likely to abuse their own children but men and women both are more likely to abuse step-children and children are more likely to live with their biological mother and step-father than the other way around. The same study found that paternal grandparents are much more likely to be abusive than maternal grandparents, though I'm not sure how that would apply to a lesbian couple. Maybe they'll start finding the same sorts of correlation based on which woman gave birth and which didn't?

No arguments.

Ivhon, you need to check over your post. There are a few paragraphs without italic words.

Perhaps there are more italics in this (however, there are fewer parentheticals). Im trying to make a change in posting style.