STUDY: Kids Impacted by Relationship of Their Parents, Not Sexual Orientation

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com July 16 2013 3:48 PM ET

A recently published study has found adopted children are affected by the relationship their parents have, not their sexual orientation, according to a study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst .

The study conducted by researchers Rachel H. Farr from U. Mass., Amherst, and Charlotte J. Patterson from the University of Virginia, compared 104 families. Of that number, 50 contained parents of opposite sexes, while 29 were headed by gay male couples, and 25 by lesbian couples.

Researchers did discover differences between the heterosexual couples and their same-sex counterparts. Same-sex parents were more likely to share the workload of childcare tasks while families that contained opposite-sex parents were more likely to divide the work according to traditional gender roles. However, the study found that this difference did not impact the behavior of the children in the families which were studied.

“While actual divisions of childcare tasks such as feeding, dressing, and taking time to play with kids were unrelated to children’s adjustment, it was the parents who were most satisfied with their arrangements with each other who had children with fewer behavior problems, such as acting out or showing aggressive behavior,” said Farr.

However, the study found that families where parents were unhappy with the division of childcare tasks were more likely to have children with increased behavioral problems.

“It appears that while children are not affected by how parents divide childcare tasks, it definitely does matter how harmonious the parents’ relationships are with each other,” said Farr. “It was clear that other aspects of co-parenting, such as how supportive parents were of each other, or how much they competed, were connected with children’s behavioral problems.”

The study, which was supported by the Williams Institute at UCLA and the Lesbian Health Fund, joins the growing list of research that scientifically proves children of same-sex parents are every bit as healthy as those from families with different-sex parents.