The largest study ever conducted of families headed by same-sex couples has concluded that the children raised in such families are as psychologically and physically healthy as children from more traditional families, indeed slightly more so. The study, published in BMC Public Health, looked at 500 children from 390 families in Australia headed by gay couples.
Lead researcher Doctor Simon Crouch said children raised by same-sex partners scored an average of 6 per cent higher than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.
“That’s really a measure that looks at how well families get along, and it seems that same-sex-parent families and the children in them are getting along well, and this has positive impacts on child health,” Dr Crouch said…
Dr Crouch said same-sex couples faced less pressure to fulfil traditional gender roles, which led to a more harmonious households.
“Previous research has suggested that parenting roles and work roles, and home roles within same-sex parenting families are more equitably distributed when compared to heterosexual families,” he said.
“So what this means is that people take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes, which is mum staying home and looking after the kids and dad going out to earn money.
“What this leads to is a more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and wellbeing.”
Rodney Chiang-Cruise, a parent raising three boys with his same-sex partner, agreed with the study’s findings.
“The traditional nurturing role is shared – it’s not one parent over another; the traditional breadwinning role is shared,” Mr Chiang-Cruise said.
“My personal view is that I think it teaches the child that everyone contributes in an equal way and you all have to contribute to the family.”
There are some limitations to the methodology used, which are noted in the text of the study itself. First, it was a convenience sample rather than a random one because “there are no current options to access data through regular population surveys or administrative datasets.” The authors do note that “very effort was made to recruit a representative sample.” Second, the study relies on parental reporting rather than on direct questioning or examination of the children. The second problem will be easier to address in future studies than the first.