Socializing Children About Family Structure: Perspectives of Lesbian and Gay Adoptive Parents

Adeline Wyman Battalen, Rachel H. Farr, David M. Brodzinsky, Ruth G. McRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Despite increasing numbers of lesbian- and gay- (LG-) parent families, little research on LG-adoptive-parent families has examined parental beliefs and perceptions related to discussing their sexual minority status with their children. This study assessed 266 LG adoptive parents (160 lesbian mothers, 106 gay fathers) from the Modern Adoptive Families (MAF) study, a nationwide survey (2012–2013) of adoptive parents' pre- and post-placement experiences. A cultural socialization lens provided the framework for examining LG parenting beliefs and practices. Two measurement scales were developed to examine parents' perceptions and self-efficacy related to socializing their child about being in a sexual-minority-parent family. Results indicate that LG parents endorse the importance of unique socialization practices and generally feel confident engaging in these practices. Parent education, transracial adoption, endorsement of racial socialization, and socialization self-efficacy were positively associated with endorsement of socialization practices. Excellent reliability suggests the 2 scales have the potential of being psychometrically sound instruments with which to measure parental endorsement and related self-efficacy of socialization practices for families headed by sexual minority parents. Findings contribute to a deeper understanding of socialization and communication patterns in LG-headed families, especially those formed through adoption. Research, policy, and practice implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-255
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the David Bohnett Foundation to the Donaldson Adoption Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adoption
  • familial relationships
  • gay father
  • lesbian mother
  • same-sex families
  • same-sex parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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