The absence of male role models did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment in a group of nearly eighty 17-year-olds raised in lesbian-headed households, the Williams Institute said today.
‘Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Male role models, gender role traits, and psychological adjustment’ is published in the journal Gender & Society.
Co-author Nanette Gartrell, MD, Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute said: “This study is part of a growing body of research that evinces the positive psychological well-being of children reared in planned lesbian families.”
The findings were based on teens who participated in the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.
Approximately half of the teens had male role models. The NLLFS teens with and without male role models did not differ from each other in psychological well-being, and also did not differ on stereotypical feminine and masculine traits, like understanding and competitiveness.
Lead author Henny Bos of the University of Amsterdam said: “No differences were found in the well-being of those with and without male role models, or between girls and boys. There was no empirical evidence suggesting that boys require a same-sex parent, or male role model, to develop a healthy psychological well-being.”
Teens and their mothers independently completed separate tests assessing their well-being and behavioral traits.
The mothers answered questions about their adolescents’ behaviour. Teens with male role models were asked to specify who these models were, and the most frequently mentioned types of role models were friends, uncles, and biological fathers/donors.
In its twenty-sixth year, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study is the longest-running and largest prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States.
The study has a 93 percent retention rate, and participating families are predominately white and middle-class.