New Report Shows Lesbians Make Great Parents

A newly published paper finds that none of the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers report having ever been physically or sexually abused by a parent or other caregiver.

This contrasts with 26 percent of American adolescents who report parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3 percent who report sexual abuse.

The new findings are from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), the longest-running study ever conducted on American lesbian families (now in its 24th year). In an article published Nov. 10 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were asked about sexual abuse, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior.

According to the authors, "the absence of child abuse in lesbian mother families is particularly noteworthy, because victimization of children is pervasive and its consequences can be devastating. To the extent that our findings are replicated by other researchers, these reports from adolescents with lesbian mothers have implications for healthcare professionals, policymakers, social service agencies, and child protection experts who seek family models in which violence does not occur."

On sexual orientation, 2.8 percent of the NLLFS adolescents identified as predominantly to exclusively homosexual.

The study was conducted by Nanette Gartrell, MD, Henny Bos, PhD (University of Amsterdam), and Naomi Goldberg, MPP (Williams Institute). Principal investigator Nanette Gartrell, MD, is a 2010 Williams Distinguished Scholar, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF, and affiliated with the University of Amsterdam.

For more information about this study, please see Archives of Sexual Behavior: DOI 10.1007/s10508-010-9692-2 -- Or, visit the NLLFS website.

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