Psychologists’ Attitudes Toward Gay and Lesbian Parenting March 10, 2009Posted by jmazur in : Uncategorized , trackback
“How does the average practicing psychologist view a gay or lesbian couple wishing to adopt a child?” This study aims to answer this question by examining the characteristics psychologists ascribe to the two individual members of such a couple and the relationship they have with one another. The reason for the researchers’ interest in this matter concerns the discrimination that gay and lesbian couples continue to have to deal with in the adoption process, even when children who live in foster care are in desperate need of a permanent adoption that is unlikely to occur on account of the critical shortage of adoptive parents. The sample used in this study was created by means of a random selection of psychologists from a list of 1,000 American Psychological Association members who had earned a Ph.D. in either clinical or counseling psychology. The resulting 388 participants, who were blind to the true nature of the study, were then instructed to read one of six possible vignettes that described a couple along with a 5-year old child who the couple wanted to adopt. These vignettes differed from each other only in respect to the sexual orientation of the couple (gay, lesbian, or heterosexual) and the gender of the child (male or female). After a participant finished reading the particular vignette they were given, they would complete a questionnaire created by the researchers, called the 10-item Couples Rating Scale, which would assess their evaluation of the couple in areas such as “financial stability,” “ability to teach moral values,” and most importantly, “likelihood he or she would recommend the couple should be awarded custody of the child.” The resulting data reveals that those psychologists who rated either the lesbian couple or the gay couple with the female child were less likely to recommend custody of the child for these couples than those psychologists who rated the heterosexual couple with either a male or female child.
The authors/researchers of this research article did a flawless job, in my opinion, in their construction of it. I was most impressed with all of the suggestions and arguments they make about the possible causes and explanations of the many results they discuss from the multivariate analyses of variance concerning the etiology of homosexuality and religiosity. The amount of past research they reference in support of their claims is another key strength of the presentation of their research. The only weaknesses I could find throughout the article were ones that they had already acknowledged as potential issues. The first of these concerned the weaknesses associated with survey analogue research designs. In discussing what the findings of this study seem to suggest, i.e. that the only psychologists who really have an issue with gay and lesbian parenting are those who view homosexuality as a choice one makes in life and those who are highly theistic, the researchers entertain the argument I mentioned above concerning survey analogue research designs. They admit that it is possible, given the nature of the issue of gay parenting, that demand characteristics may have been responsible for causing politically correct responses if participants were able to uncover the true nature of the study. They further admit that it is equally possible for demand characteristics to have influenced who chose to participate in the study. Given these possibilities of response bias and self-selection, the researchers admit that restrictions on the generalizability of the study are warranted.
Crawford, I., McLeod, A., Zamboni, B., & Jordan, M. (1999). Psychologists’ Attitudes toward Gay and Lesbian Parenting. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30(4), 394-401.