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Study shows same-sex couples spend forty per cent more focused time with children

Date:16 OCT 2015
A report produced by the University of Austin, Texas, has found that female same-sex couples tend to spend 40% more time engaged in child-centred activities than single-sex couples.

The study, published on the Children and Family Blog today (Monday 19 October 2015) looks set to tackle prejudices held against same-sex parents, and explore further the dynamics of a household in which a child lives with a same-sex couple.

Figures derived from nationally representative data in the US show that mothers in both same- and single-sex couples tend to spend approximately 100 minutes per day engaging in a child-focused activity, whereas heterosexual fathers who cohabit with or are married to women partake in an average of only 50 minutes per day. Interestingly, fathers in a same-sex couple spend an equivalent amount of time involved in a child-focused activity as mothers: roughly 100 minutes every day. A ‘child-focused activity’ is constituted as time spent supporting the development of a child’s cognitive and physical abilities via engagement, for example reading to or playing with a child, helping them with homework or taking them to a medical/dental appointment or extracurricular activity.

Kate Prickett, post-doctoral fellow at the Population Research Centre at the University of Austin, was positive that the study meant a turnaround in the way same-sex couples are viewed as a parental unit:

‘Our study suggests that, on measures of child-focused time, children with two parents of the same sex … actually seem to receive more time investment [than from parents of different sexes]. They received more focused time from their parents – 3.5 hours a day, compared with 2.5 hours by children with two different-sex parents.

Our findings support the argument that parental investment in children is at least as great – and possibly greater – in same-sex couples as for different-sex couples.’
The full details on the study and its fascinating results can be found on the Child and Family Blog.