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British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science

British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, ISSN: 2278-0998,Vol.: 11, Issue.: 2


The Unexpected Harm of Same-sex Marriage: A Critical Appraisal, Replication and Re-analysis of Wainright and Patterson’s Studies of Adolescents with Same-sex Parents


D. Paul Sullins1*

1Department of Sociology, The Catholic University of America, USA.


Article Information
(1) Daniel Yaw Fiaveh, Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
(2) Stan Weeber, Professor of Sociology, McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA.
(1) Anonymous, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
(2) Paulo Verlaine Borges e Azevêdo, University of Goiás, Brazil.
(3) Anonymous, University of Sri Jaywardenepura, Sri Lanka.
Complete Peer review History: http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history/10443




Aims: To critique, replicate and re-analyze Wainright and Patterson’s three studies of adolescents with same-sex parents, which conclude, based on representative population data, that such children suffer no disadvantages. 

Methodology: After replicating Wainright and Patterson’s sample and analyses using the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, Wave I, (n = 20,745), re-examination of the same-sex parent sample finds that 27 of the 44 cases are misidentified heterosexual parents; they did not adjust for survey design and clustering; and ignored 99 percent of the baseline by using a small matched sample for comparison.  Outcomes are re-analyzed after correcting these problems, using OLS, logistic regression and Firth (bias-adjusted) regression models.

Results: The adolescents with same-sex parents experience significantly lower autonomy and higher anxiety, but also better school performance, than do adolescents with opposite-sex parents. Comparing unmarried to (self-described) married same-sex parents, above-average child depressive symptoms rises from 50% to 88%; daily fearfulness or crying rises from 5% to 32%; grade point average declines from 3.6 to 3.4; and child sex abuse by parent rises from zero to 38%.  The longer a child has been with same-sex parents, the greater the harm.

Conclusion: Children with same-sex parents experience significant disadvantages, but also some advantages, compared to those with man-woman parents. Although opposite-sex marriage is associated with improved outcomes on a wide range of child well-being measures, same-sex marriage is associated with lower outcomes. Further work is needed to determine the relative influences of instability, duration, and marriage to these findings.


Keywords :

National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health; same-sex parents; child well-being; same-sex marriage.


Full Article - PDF    Page 1-22    Article Metrics


DOI : 10.9734/BJESBS/2015/19337

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