Teens With Lesbian Moms Well Adjusted, Says Teen Survey
by Distributed by Healthy Living News
Heather has two mommies and she is doing just fine, says a new study showing teenage children of lesbians report as good a quality of life as teens with heterosexual parents.
The small American study performed a quality of life survey on 78 teenage sons and daughters of lesbian parents. The children were drawn from a long-term follow-up study of lesbian mothers enrolled when they were pregnant or planning to become so. The children's quality of life responses were compared with those by children of heterosexual parents who completed the same survey.
The results reveal that the children with lesbian mothers rated their quality of life similar to that of teenagers with heterosexual parents. For example, average agreement with the statement, 'I feel I am getting along with my parents/guardians' was about 8 on a 10-point scale in both groups. For the statement, 'I look forward to the future,' the average score was about 9.
"Adolescent offspring in planned lesbian families do not show differences in quality of life when compared with adolescents reared in heterosexual families," the study concluded.
The children seemed unaffected by knowing the identity of their Mother's sperm donor or by whether she was still in a relationship with the woman who was her partner at the time of the child's birth.
About 40 percent of teens reported some kind of unfair treatment related to having a lesbian parentóbeing teased or ridiculed, being stereotyped, or being excluded from activities. However, these kinds of stigmatization did not affect the quality-of-life scores, suggesting resilience among the teens.
A growing body of evidence suggests that children of gay or lesbian parents have normal psychological adjustment. Most studies of this issue have looked at younger children, while teenagers may have a "keener awareness" that their parents' sexual orientation places them among a stigmatized minority group. In addition, most previous studies have focused on problem behaviors, rather than quality-of-life factors associated with good psychological adjustment.
"Adolescents living with lesbian parents function as well as, or sometimes better than, those reared by opposite-sex parents," the researchers wrote. The study showing evidence of good adjustment is an important addition to previous research showing no difference in adjustment difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, and disruptive behaviors.
Adjustment is good despite high rates of teasing and other forms of stigmatization, which has previously been linked to behavior problems. Classmates were most often mentioned as the source of teasing or ridicule, "suggesting a need for schools to educate students in the appreciation of diversity and to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and stigmatization," the researchers noted. "Such changes to the educational system would benefit youths from all family types."
The study is published in the January 2012 Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
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