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Study Shows Children Raised In Lesbian Homes Happy And Healthy

San Francisco, CA – The Williams Institute, a research center on sexual orientation law and public policy at UCLA School of Law, announces a new report from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) published in Pediatrics.  The NLLFS—the longest-running study ever conducted on American lesbian families—found that the 17-year-old adolescent daughters and sons of lesbian mothers, all conceived through donor insemination, were rated higher than their peers in social, academic, and overall competence, and lower in aggressive behavior, rule-breaking, and social problems, on standardized assessments of psychological adjustment.

 
The NLLFS has been studying the same group of lesbian families since 1986; it is the only study to have followed the daughters and sons of lesbians from conception to adulthood. The results released are based on data gathered when the adolescents were 17 years old. The report also found no differences in the psychological adjustment of NLLFS adolescents who had been conceived by known and unknown donors, nor between those who reported homophobic stigmatization and those who did not.
 
Although there are over 40 studies on young children with same-sex parents, data on adolescents reared by same-sex parents are very limited. The current NLLFS report shows that despite homophobic stigmatization, the adolescent daughters and sons of lesbians demonstrate more competencies and fewer behavioral problems than age-matched peers. These findings support the position statements of all major professional associations concerning the well-being of children growing up in lesbian and gay families.
 
The NLLFS is spearheaded by principal investigator Nanette Gartrell, M.D., a 2010 Williams Distinguished Scholar and also Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. 
 
 “Our data show that adolescents reared in lesbian parent households are psychologically healthy and high-functioning,” said Nanette Gartrell, MD. “The mothers provided healthy, loving and safe environments where their daughters and sons could grow and thrive. We have followed these families since the mothers were inseminating or pregnant, and at each interview, we have been impressed with how well the kids are doing. At 17, we find that the kids are well-adjusted and well-equipped for college and beyond.”
 
The NLLFS has examined the social, psychological, and emotional development of the children who were conceived through donor insemination and reared in planned lesbian families.  For 24 years, this study has been gathering information for specialists in healthcare, family services, sociology, feminist studies, education, ethics, gay marriage, and public policy on matters pertaining to LGBT families. Dr. Gartrell’s research documents prospective lesbian mothers’ strong desire to bear children; the thoughtful and innovative parenting styles of lesbian mothers; the effects of homophobia on planned lesbian families; the children’s growth and development; the impact of childrearing on lesbian mothers’ relationships, careers, and community activism; and today, the psychological adjustment of their 17-year-old adolescents.
 
Dr. Gartrell’s co-investigator is Henny Bos, Ph.D., of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. Bos is also the principal investigator of a Dutch longitudinal study modeled after the NLLFS. 
 
For more information about this study, please see Pediatrics: Gartrell N, Bos H. “The U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of the 17-year-old Adolescents.” Published online 7 June 2010:  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/   
 
Also, visit the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) website at www.nllfs.org .  
 
Dr. Gartrell can be reached at ngartrell@onebox.com  or by telephone 1-415-346-2336 (office) or  1-415-519-0841 (cell). 
 
Dr. Bos can be reached at H.M.W.Bos@uva.nl 
 

 



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