Australian Study Concludes Kids of Gay Parents Are Better Off

In Depth

A new study from an Australian research group has concluded that in most aspects, children of same-sex partners are actually likely to be healthier than their heterosexual-parented peers.

The study only focused on 315 parents who self-identified as same-sex attracted with 300 children total and filled out/returned the surveys (which was 81% of those who were sent the surveys). The researchers pointed out that previous studies have not been comprehensive, focusing only on lesbians, or very small sample sizes.

This study aims to describe the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them….Parent-reported, multidimensional measures of child health and wellbeing and the relationship to perceived stigma were measured.

Still what the study found was that the children scored 6% higher than children of heterosexual parents in nearly all areas. This matches up with results found in previous international research with smaller sample sizes. The reasoning for this seems to be the high levels of parental involvement as well as the higher level of planning needed to raise a family as same-sex parents.

Australian children with same-sex attracted parents score higher than population samples on a number of parent-reported measures of child health. Perceived stigma is negatively associated with mental health. Through improved awareness of stigma these findings play an important role in health policy, improving child health outcomes.

So where were Australian children of same-sex parents not better off than their peers with straight parents? Mental health. The study determined that the reported issues with mental health are because of the stigma still associated with families that look like theirs, and the negative attention they receive in the form of bullying. Basically, these kids, if they have mental health issues, are suffering from the effects of prolonged exposure to bigotry.

While this research is unlikely to convince ultraconservative groups, think tanks, and politicians, given the fact that the numbers are nearly identical to previous studies in other parts of the world, this study is one more nail in the coffin of the idea that LGBT parents are a threat to their own children.

Image via esfera/Shutterstock.

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