Volume 12 - 2021
Differences Between Acceptance of Sexual Diversity and Nonheterosexual Sexual Orientation Among Children of Same-Sex Parents, pages 132-146
Walter R. Schumm, Ph.D. & Duane W. Crawford, Ph.D.
The possible effects of same-sex parenting on children’s sexual attitudes and sexual orientation have been controversial. Some scholars have argued that parental influence might be greater for their children’s sexual attitudes, such as greater acceptance of sexual diversity, than for their children’s sexual orientations. Our review of the literature yielded nine studies of the children of same-sex parents in which both types of measures were included in measurable formats. We compared the reported percentages of both factors, using weighted and unweighted data, as well as by the use of meta-analysis. Both types of measures were positively associated (r > .85) across the studies while a significantly higher percentage of children reported greater acceptance of sexual diversity than they did for their own nonheterosexual sexual orientation. Effect sizes were substantial (> 3.0). Future research should test whether greater acceptance of sexual diversity or nontraditional gender role orientations may predispose children, especially adolescents and emerging adults, with same-sex parents, to consider, experiment with, or identify with nonheterosexual sexual orientations. Same-sex parenting may influence acceptance of sexual diversity more than sexual orientation among the children of lesbian, gay, or bisexual parents, even though the two factors were strongly correlated across our studies. More complex theories about same-sex parenting need to be developed and tested in future research.
Keywords: Same-sex parents, acceptance of sexual diversity, sexual orientation of children, family theory, meta-analysis