- Adolescents of the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: the impact of having a known or an unknown donor on the stability of psychological adjustment
- Human Reproduction
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- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Background: The current study is based on the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), which was designed to document the development of the first generation of lesbian families with children conceived through donor insemination. Data were collected in five waves, first at insemination or during pregnancy, and subsequently when the index children were 2, 5, 10 and 17 years old. The study is ongoing, with a 93% retention rate to date. The purpose of the current investigation was to assess changes in psychological adjustment of the index offspring between the time that they were 10 and 17 years old (T4 and T5) and to examine the effects of having a known or an as-yet-unknown donor.
Methods: The total T5 sample consisted of 78 adolescents. The mothers in 74 families completed a Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) on their offspring at both T4 and T5: 26 of these offspring had been conceived through known sperm donors and 48 through unknown donors. Changes in psychological adjustment were assessed through computations of stability coefficients between T4 and T5 on all CBCL subscales, and by means of a general linear model (GLM).
Results: On 10 out of 11 CBCL subscales, the stability coefficients were not significantly different for adolescents with known and unknown donors. Findings from the GLM showed that no main effect for donor type was found; for offspring in both donor groups thought problems and rule-breaking behaviour were higher and scores on social problems and aggressive behaviour were lower at T5 than T4.
Conclusions: The development of psychological well-being in the offspring of lesbian mothers over a 7-year period from childhood through adolescence is the same for those who were conceived through known and unknown donors.
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