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Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Dec;59(3):263-75.

Lesbian families and family functioning: an overview.

Author information

1
Department of Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Wibautstraat 4, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands. h.m.w.bos@uva.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

In the last 30 years a growing body of studies on lesbian parents and the development of children has been published.

METHODS:

Four computerized databases were identified studies for inclusion in this review of research on lesbian families, namely PsychInfo, Educational Resources Information Centre (ERIC), Medline, and the Social Sciences Citation Index.

RESULTS:

Forty-four empirical studies on lesbian families published between 1978 and 2003 were reviewed. In the research on lesbian families two phases were identified. To begin with, systematic studies on lesbian families focused on lesbian families with children who were born in a previous heterosexual relationship. More recently, studies included lesbian families whose children were born to the lesbian couple (planned lesbian families). In both phases, articles reporting results on children's development (such as sexual identity, emotional/behavioral development, social relationships and cognitive functioning), and parental functioning (such as mental psychological health and parenting skills). This paper presents and discusses major finding of the reviewed articles.

CONCLUSION:

Studies in both phases have emphasized that lesbian and heterosexual families are very much alike. However, it is the stigma of lesbianism that makes the family situation of lesbian families different.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Healthcare workers should be informed about the similarities and differences between lesbian families and heterosexual families, and about the non-traditional family situation of planned lesbian families.

PMID:
16326265
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2004.10.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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