This study used data from US National Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health covering 15,700 people of whom 44 were raised by SSC. These individuals had been previously studied by Wainwright et al who concluded that there were no significant differences between them and those raised by married biological parents (MBP). There were, however, significant sampling errors in Wainwrights study and Sullins addressed them in a previous study also available on this site. ,When these errors were corrected, Sullins found evidence of significant differences between kids raised by SSC vs those raised by MBP (The unexpected harm of same-sex marriage; a critical appraisal, replication and reanalysing of Wainwright and Patterson’s studies of adolescents with same sex parents).In this study he looked at the outcomes in 20 of these kids (17 raised by lesbians and 3 raised by gay males) at ages 15, 22, and 28.
1. They were 2.6x more likely than kids raised by opposite sex couples to be diagnosed with depression as adults.
2. 85% of them reported parental abuse. Sullins notes that previous studies have not documented this finding ‘most likely because almost all have been based on parental reports, which minimise abuse self-reporting and none (to my knowledge) have ever asked directly about parental abuse. In the only prior study based on retrospective reports, children with lesbian mothers..reported a substantially higher rate of sexual abuse, at 23% than those with consistently heterosexual parents.’ This highlights the fundamental flaw in studies that rely ONLY on parent reports to assess child outcomes.
3. Over 2/3 of the kids raised by SSC were obese, compared with 37% for comparison group
Sullins appropriately notes that the small sample size limits the conclusions that can be drawn but he cautions that the results cannot be dismissed either as follows:
‘The emergence of higher depression risk in early adulthood, coupled with a more frequent history of abuse victimisation, parental distance and obesity, suggests that the inattention of research and policy to the problems of children with same-sex parents is unwarranted. As initial results, the present findings should be interpreted with caution and balance, based on the limited evidence presented, and (it is hoped) neither exaggerated nor dismissed out of hand on preconceived ideological grounds.
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