The absence of male role models did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment of 17-year-old teens raised in lesbian-headed households, according to a new study, “Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Male role models, gender role traits, and psychological adjustment” published in Gender & Society. “This study is part of a growing body of research that evinces the positive psychological well-being of children reared in planned lesbian families,” said the study’s co-author Nanette Gartrell, MD, Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute.
Findings were based on teens who participated in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS). Approximately half of the teens had male role models. The NLLFS teens with and without male role models did not differ from each other in psychological well-being, and also did not differ on stereotypical feminine (e.g., understanding) and masculine (e.g., competitive) traits.
“No differences were found in the well-being of those with and without male role models, or between girls and boys. There was no empirical evidence suggesting that boys require a same-sex parent, or male role model, to develop a healthy psychological well-being,” said lead author Henny Bos, Ph.D, University of Amsterdam.