FRIDAY, July 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Children of same-sex parents are not more likely to suffer behavioral or social problems, Italian researchers say.
The new study included children, aged 3 to 11, of 195 gay or lesbian parents and 195 heterosexual parents in Italy.
Children of same-sex parents had fewer reported difficulties than children of different-sex parents, but scores were in the normal range for both groups, according to the report.
Overall, in both groups, adults who felt less competent as parents, were less satisfied in their relationship, and noted lower levels of family flexibility reported more problems in their children.
"Family structure is not predictive of child health outcomes once family process variables are taken into account," according to lead researcher Roberto Baiocco and colleagues, from Sapienza University of Rome.
Some indicators of family functioning were better among same-sex parents, particularly for gay fathers. This might reflect the high level of commitment needed for gay men to become parents, the researchers suggested.
The investigators also pointed out that the gay fathers in the study were older, economically better off, better educated, and had more stable relationships than the lesbian mothers and different-sex parents.
The study was published recently in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
The findings add to a large body of evidence that children of gay or lesbian parents aren't more likely to have problems than children of heterosexual parents, the study authors noted in a journal news release.
The study "warns policymakers against making assumptions on the basis of sexual orientation about people who are more suited than others to be parents, or about people who should or should not be denied access to fertility treatments," the researchers concluded.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on same-sex parents.