Same-Sex Couples Spend More Time Focused on Kids, Study Finds

Research suggests that same-sex parents spend more quality time with their children than different-sex parents.
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A new study reports that same-sex couples spend more hours of their day participating in child-focused activities than a parent pair consisting of a mom and a dad.

The research, from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and published in Demography, sought to determine how certain parenting behaviors differ when different family dynamics are considered.

Reasearchers analyzed data of more than 40,000 parents who participated in the American Time Use Surveys between 2003 and 2013, including a total of 55 same-sex couples—38 mom pairs and 17 dad pairs.

"The fact that we find some statistical differences between parents in same-sex relationships versus those in different-sex relationships despite a small sample size is telling," lead author Kate Prickett told Yahoo Parenting. "And despite our small sample size of parents in same-sex relationships, a major benefit of our study is that it is nationally representative and participants were randomly selected." Bias can be created when research relies on convenience sampling rather than being nationally representative.

It was concluded that children with two moms received 40 percent more quality time with their parents. (Couples consisting of two dads also yielded similar results to two-mom families, but these results were not included in the published study due to a small sample size.)

Researchers defined this "quality time" as activities that support children's development both cognitively and physically—like reading aloud, homework help, and taking them to a dentist appointment.

Prickett notes that men with female partners only put in about half as much quality time (roughly 50 minutes) with their kids when compared to the 100 minutes men in same-sex partnerships typically spent. Mothers with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners also spent about 100 minutes per day engaged in child-focused activities.

"This finding challenges biases against same-sex parents and demonstrates high levels of investment in children by same-sex couples," Prickett wrote in Child and Family Blog.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn

The experiences children have during their first five years have a tremendous impact on the development of their brains, their health, and their future as adults.

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