Objective: Using the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health data set, we compared spouse/partner relationships and parent-child relationships (family relationships), parenting stress, and children's general health, emotional difficulties, coping behavior, and learning behavior (child outcomes) in households of same-sex (female) versus different-sex continuously coupled parents with biological offspring. We assessed whether associations among family relationships, parenting stress, and child outcomes were different in the 2 household types.
Methods: Parental and child characteristics were matched for 95 female same-sex parent and 95 different-sex parent households with children 6 to 17 years old. One parent per household was interviewed by telephone. Multivariate analyses of variance and multiple linear regressions were conducted.
Results: No differences were observed between household types on family relationships or any child outcomes. Same-sex parent households scored higher on parenting stress (95% confidence interval = 2.03–2.30) than different-sex parent households (95% confidence interval = 1.76–2.03), p = .006. No significant interactions between household type and family relationships or household type and parenting stress were found for any child outcomes.
Conclusion: Children with female same-sex parents and different-sex parents demonstrated no differences in outcomes, despite female same-sex parents reporting more parenting stress. Future studies may reveal the sources of this parenting stress.
*Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands;
†Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, NY;
‡Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA.
Address for reprints: Henny M. W. Bos, PhD, Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 127, 1018 WS, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; e-mail: H.M.W.Bos@uva.nl.
Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
See the related Commentary “Moving Beyond Anti-LGBT Politics” by Nathaniel Frank on page 245. See the video abstract from the authors at JDBP.org.
Received November , 2015
Accepted January , 2016