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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) - A new study that finds that children of a gay or lesbian parent may be more likely to have social and emotional problems. The study has sparked controversy on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.
The study, from Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, surveyed more than 15,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 39, asking them questions about their upbringings. Its findings are published in the July issue of Social Science Research.
One survey question asked whether a parent had been in a same-sex relationship during a child’s upbringing. Regnerus wanted to see whether there were differences between kids raised in a household by a parent in a same-sex relationship compared with those who were raised by biological parents who were married and heterosexual. The survey results were measured by a set of 40 outcomes on social, emotional and relationship factors. Outcomes included whether a child had grown up to need public assistance like welfare, were more likely to have anxiety or depression, were more likely to be abused, or were more apt engage in unhealthier habits such as having more sexual partners, smoking or using drugs.
The analysis identified 175 now-adult children who said they were raised by a lesbian mother, along with 73 who said their father was in a same-sex relationship. Focusing on the larger sample, the study found respondents whose mother had a same-sex relationship fared worse on 24 of the 40 tested outcomes, compared with children of an intact heterosexual couple.
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