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Escala de creencias sobre el ajuste infantil en familias con padres del mismo sexo.

Autor/autores: Dolores Frias-Navarro
Fecha Publicación: 01/03/2009
Área temática: Psicología general .
Tipo de trabajo:  Conferencia

RESUMEN

Este estudio examina el concepto y propiedades psicométricas de una nueva escala que mide las creencias acerca de la parentalidad de los padres del mismo sexo, escala de creencias sobre el Ajuste Infantil en Familias con padres del Mismo Sexo. Los resultados, basados en una muestra de 212 estudiantes universitarios (edad media de 22 años, DT=8. 28) apoyan la validez y fiabilidad de la escala. Esta medida incluye dos factores, Prejuicio Personal (alfa de Cronbach=. 875) y Prejuicio Social (alfa de Cronbach=. 888.

La validez convergente de la escala señala correlaciones predecibles las creencias acerca de la causa de la homosexualidad y el apoyo de los derechos de los homosexuales. Nuestro estudio señala una fuerte asociación positiva entre altas puntuaciones en la escala de creencias sobre el Ajuste Infantil en Familias con padres del Mismo Sexo y atribuciones que mantienen que el origen de la homosexualidad es aprendido y la oposición a los derechos de los homosexuales.

Palabras clave: Ajuste infantil, Familias con padres del mismo sexo, Fiabilidad

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Frias-Navarro (2009).

Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

1

Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

(Escala de creencias sobre el Ajuste Infantil en Familias con padres del mismo sexo)

Dolores Frías-Navarro
Faculty of Psychology
Department of Methodology of the Behavioural Sciences
University of Valencia
Spain
E-mail: M. Dolores. Frias@uv. es
Web: http://www. uv. es/friasnav/

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

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Abstract
This study examines the conceptualization and psychometric properties of a new
scale that measures of the adults' beliefs about negative impacts on children who are
raised in same sex parents. Research findings, based on a sample of 212 university
students (mean age 22 years, SD = 8. 28), supported the reliability and validity of the
scale.

This

measure

include

two

factors,

Individual

Opposition

(Cronbach's

alpha = 0. 87) and Normative Opposition (Cronbach's alpha = 0. 88). Convergent validity
of the scale is demonstrated by predictable correlations with beliefs about the cause of
homosexuality and the support for homosexual rights. Our study reveals a strong
positive association between high scores on the Scale of Beliefs about Children's
Adjustment in Same-Sex Families and beliefs that the origin of homosexuality is learned
and opposition to homosexual rights.
Key words: Children's Adjustment, Same-Sex Families, Reliability
Resumen
Este estudio examina el concepto y propiedades psicométricas de una nueva
escala que mide las creencias de los adultos acerca del impacto negativo que sobre los
niños tiene el ser educado por padres del mismo sexo, escala de creencias sobre el
Ajuste Infantil en Familias Homoparentales. Los resultados, basados en una muestra
de 212 estudiantes universitarios (edad media de 22 años, DT = 8. 28) apoyan la validez
y fiabilidad de la escala. Esta medida incluye dos factores, Oposición Individual (alfa de
Cronbach=0. 87) y Oposición Normativa (alfa de Cronbach = 0. 88. La validez
convergente de la escala señala correlaciones predecibles con creencias acerca de la
causa de la homosexualidad y el apoyo de los derechos de los homosexuales. Nuestro

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

3

estudio señala una fuerte asociación positiva entre altas puntuaciones en la escala de
creencias sobre el Ajuste Infantil en Familias Homoparentales y creencias que
mantienen que el origen de la homosexualidad es aprendido y la oposición a los
derechos de los homosexuales.
Palabras clave: Ajuste infantil, Familias con padres del mismo sexo, Fiabilidad

The construct of homophobia has evolved along with political and social changes just as
occurred in the fields of racism and sexism. Researchers have recently begun to make
a distinction between classical (old-fashioned, blatant, overt, and explicit) and modern
(subtle, covert, and implicit) forms of prejudice. Sears (1988) characterized modern
prejudice by three components: denial of continued discrimination, antagonism toward
minority group demands, and resentment about special favors for minority groups. We
suggest that the distinction between modern and classical types of prejudiced attitude is
identifiable also for attitudes toward the person with a homosexual orientation. We find
ourselves faced with a new expression of homophobia that is less aggressive and less
open, but just as discriminatory as the traditional one, and that requires the elaboration
of new measurement instruments.
In the 1970's, George Weinberg (1972) popularized the term homophobia in his work
Society and the Healthy Homosexual as referring to the irrational fear or apprehension
felt by a heterosexual subject when shut in a room with a lesbian woman, a gay man or
a bisexual. The heterosexism is the belief that heterosexuality is the only normal or
natural option for human relationships and that heterosexuality is superior to
homosexuality. Herek (1992) defined heterosexism as "an ideological system that

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

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denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any nonheterosexual form of behavior, identity,
relationship or community" (p. 89). The current discourse includes respect for all the
sexual orientations, without publicly labeling homosexuals as sick people. However,
normality and naturalness are attributed to heterosexual behavior compared to the
unnatural and, therefore, deviant behavior of the other types of sexual orientation
(Burridge, 2004).
Clearly, the manifestations of homophobia are now more subtle, and certain social
rights that were not recognized before are tolerated, but without accepting the equality
and normalization of the lives of people with a non-heterosexual sexual orientation. For
example, the results of the surveys point out that the majority of heterosexuals support
the protection of the civil rights of gays and lesbians, but they show a greater opposition
to allowing them to be parents, rejecting, above all, adoption (Frías-Navarro, 2005).
Furthermore, those surveyed do not accept their own prejudice as a personal belief,
given the social rejection it produces, but they do grant it validity within the perspective
of heterosexism, which assumes the superiority of heterosexuality over homosexuality
as the natural manifestation of the sexual orientation. This type of reasoning is quite
present, especially in their opinions about marriage and parenting by gays and lesbians
and the psychological well-being of their children. From our point of view, the
expression of homophobia has transformed into a new cognitive, affective and
behavioral manifestation, where open and aggressive discrimination against the
homosexual person is attacked, but which defends socio-cultural values that maintain
the superiority of the heterosexual model: heterosexual fathers and mothers naturally
possess the best standards of child-raising and education. Within this perspective, we

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

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frame the development of the Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in SameSex Families (SBCASSF).
Since the 1970's, researchers have developed different scales to measure attitudes
toward lesbians and gays. In the 1980's, within a traditional theoretical model of
homophobic attitudes, two of the most important measures were the Hudson and
Ricketts scale (1980), the Index of Homophobia (IHP) and, especially, the Herek scale
(1984, 1988), Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men (ATLG).
Currently, the perspective of modern prejudice has gained strength, which has led to the
elaboration of new instruments, such as the Modern Homophobia Scale (MHS) by Raja
and Stokes (1998) and, more recently, the Modern Homonegativity Scale (MHS) by
Morrison and Morrison (2002), whose purpose is to measure attitudes toward lesbians
and gays that are not based on religious or moral judgments (what the authors call
"traditional homonegativity").
Together with the general dimension of homophobia, there are beliefs about the quality
of the home formed by parents of the same sex. The basic question is do the children
develop properly in a family with same-sex parents? Or, highlighting a heterosexual
component, do children of same-sex parents develop in the same way as those in
homes with heterosexual parents? The increasingly large body of research on samesex families indicates that the social and emotional adjustment children of homosexual
parents are likely to be at least as positive as those of the children of heterosexualpartnered parents, and that the quality and quantity of parenting by lesbian couples is
likely to be high compared to that by heterosexual couples (Frías-Navarro, 2005;

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

6

Golombok, 2000; González, Morcillo, Sánchez, Chacón & Gómez, 2004; Lambert,
2005; Patterson, 2006; Tasker, 2005; Wainright, russell & Patterson, 2004).
The main purpose of our study is to present the psychometric properties of the first
evaluation instrument oriented exclusively toward measuring the beliefs about the
childhood adjustment of children raised and educated by same-sex parents, the Scale
of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families (SBCASSF). The validity
of the instrument is analyzed through the relationships of scores from the scale with the
attributions about the origin of homosexuality, opinions about certain traditional values
related to the family, opinions about gender roles and heterosexuality, and the
recognition of the societal rights of same-sex couples, such as marriage or adoption.
The results from the literature point out that the greatest degree of homophobia is
related to attributions maintaining that homosexuality is learned (there is control over
the choice of the homosexuality by the subject), compared to genetic or biological
explanations (there is no control) about the origin of the homosexuality, which are linked
to a lesser degree of prejudice (Aguero, Block & Byrne, 1984; Ernulf, Innala, & Whitam,
1989; Herek, 2002; Oldham & Kasser, 1999; Piskur & Degelman, 1992; Raiz, 2006;
Röndahl, Innala & Carlsson, 2004; Sakalli, 2002; Schneider & Lewis, 1984; Whitley,
1990).
Opinions assigning different traditional roles to men and women also predict more
negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians (Agnew, Thompson, Smith, Gramzow &
Currey, 1993; Basow & Johnson, 2000; Cotten-Huston & Waite, 2000; Ficarotto, 1990;
Kerns & Fine, 1994; Kite & Whitley, 1996; Louderback & Whitley, 1997; MacDonald &

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

7

Games, 1974; Patel, Long, McCammon & Wuensch, 1995; Whitley, 1987; Whitley &
Aegisdottir, 2000).
Supporting the civil rights of gays and lesbians is associated with more positive attitudes
about tolerance toward and acceptance of the life of the homosexual person (Brewer,
2003; Ellis, Kitzinger & Wilkinson, 2002; Irwin & Thompson, 1977; Kite & Whitley, 1996;
Wood & Bartkowski, 2004).
Method
Participants
The sample was composed of 212 university Psychology students in Valencia (Spain)
(mean age 22 years, standard deviation 8. 28). 78. 3% were women, and 21. 2% were
men; one participant did not give his or her sex (0. 5 %). Participation in the study was
voluntary, and it took place after civil marriage between same-sex couples had been
approved in Spain (reform of the Spanish Civil Code with regard to the right to contract
marriage, introduced by Law 13/2005 of July 1 st 2005).
Measures
The Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in Same-SexFamilies. The instrument
used to measure the beliefs about the effects of the child-raising and education
practices of same-sex parents on their children's adjustment is the Scale of Beliefs
about Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families, whose psychometric properties are
presented in this study. The construction of the scale passed through different prior
phases of research on the construct of beliefs about negative effect on children of being
raised by homosexual parents (an initial pool of 95 items ) until arriving at the version
presented and analyzed in the present study (Frías-Navarro, 2005, Frías-Navarro,

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

8

Pascual & Monterde, 2003; Frías-Navarro, Pascual, Monterde & Montejano, 2005). The
original scale consisted of sixteen items, and responses were given on a Likert type
scale from `Completely agree' (5) to `Completely disagree' (1).
Beliefs about the origin of homosexuality (BOH). In addition, a measurement instrument
was elaborated on the Beliefs about the Origin of Homosexuality (BOH), consisting of 7
items whose purpose is to find out opinions about the biological (three items,
Cronbach's alpha of 0. 93) or learned (four items, Cronbach's alpha of 0. 82) origin of
homosexuality.
Opinions about the rights of homosexuals. Two items were included that reflect opinions
about the social rights of homosexuals in general, and there were two other items
dealing with the specific question of the legalization of civil marriage between same-sex
partners.
Traditional values, gender roles and heterosexuality. In the study, information was also
gathered related to the opinions about traditional family values ("having a family is one
of my most important goals in reaching personal fulfillment"), gender roles ("women are
usually better suited than men for taking care of children and the elderly) and
heterosexist questions related to the education, development and raising of children.
Procedure
The sample of university students completed the instrument during class hours and all
responses were kept confidential and anonymous. They were told that it was a study
designed to find out what people think about family relationships and certain issues in
everyday life.
Results

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

9

Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA)
The development of a new instrument to measure beliefs about children's adjustment in
families of the same sex, called the Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in
Same-Sex Families, first consisted of performing a principal components exploratory
analysis. In the analysis, the correlation matrix was used as the association matrix. The
determinant value of the correlation matrix (determinant 7. 91E-005), the Kaiser-MeyerOlkin sample fit measure (KMO) (. 91) and the Bartlett sphericity test ( 2=1792, 96,
degrees of freedom 120, p<. 0001) showed that the application of principal components
analysis was appropriate. For the extraction of the components, the Kaiser criterion
(eigenvalues >1, Kaiser, 1960) and the screen plot (Cattell, 1966) were taken into
account. Both of these criteria made it possible to conclude that there were two main
components.
The factorial matrix was rotated using the oblimin oblique rotation (delta=0) procedure.
All of the items saturate positively in their components. The results of the principal
components analysis show a two dimensional structure. After examining the results of
the structure matrix, items 6 ("It is quite likely that the child adopted by a homosexual
couple will have conflicts with other children, which may lead to emotional disorders")
and 2 ("If a child is adopted by a homosexual, it is likely that in the future s/he will feel
ashamed when comparing him/herself to classmates who have fathers and mothers")
were eliminated from the final scale due to their high saturation in both components
(greater than . 4). All the items saturate in the corresponding component with values
superior to . 4. The scale consists, therefore, of 14 items; seven for each subscale (see

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

10

Table 1). The variability of items 11 (. 33) and 14 (. 35) is the least explained according to
their final communalities (proportion of item variance explained by the components).
Table 1. Matrix of rotated components of the oblimin oblique rotation in the principal
components analysis
Oblimin
Factor
loadings

*h2
The Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Parent
Families
Item 12. A child who is raised by a homosexual couple will be teased by
his/her classmates.
Item 8. A child adopted by a homosexual couple will be the butt of jokes and
rejection by his/her classmates.
Item 4. It is more likely that the child will experience social isolation if his/her
friends know that his/her parents are homosexuals.
Item 10. Surely, the classmates will reject a child whose father or mother is
homosexual.
Item 16. If the parents are homosexuals, it will be difficult for the child to be
invited to friends' parties.
Item 13. The child raised by homosexual parents will probably not be chosen
as a leader by his/her classmates or friends.
Item 14. The child usually hides the sexual orientation of his parents from his
friends out of fear of being rejected socially.
Item 9. If a child is adopted by a homosexual couple, s/he will surely have
psychological problems in the future.
Item 7. If we want to defend the interests of the child, only heterosexual
couples should be able to adopt.
Item 5. If children are raised by homosexuals, they will have more problems
with their own sexual identity than when they are raised by a father and a
mother.
Item 1. In general, the social development of a child is better when it is raised
by a father and a mother, and not by a homosexual couple.
Item 3. In general, children raised by homosexual parents will have more
problems than those who are raised by a father and a mother.
Item 15. When a child manifests homosexual behaviors, it would be wise to
take him/her to the psychologist.
Item 11. A child raised by lesbian mothers will be an effeminate child.
Percentage of variance explained

=

1

2

h2

. 86

. 40

. 74

. 85

. 35

. 73

. 81

. 48

. 66

. 81

. 43

. 66

. 73

. 35

. 54

. 71

. 37

. 51

. 59

. 34

. 35

. 40

. 85

. 72

. 33

. 83

. 69

. 43

. 82

. 69

. 38

. 79

. 63

. 40

. 79

. 62

. 37

. 66

. 44

. 40

. 60

. 33

44. 48

14. 73

item communalities at extraction

The theoretical labeling for each component was performed with the psychological
content of the items in mind. The first component includes items related to the personal
or individual beliefs the subjects make about the adverse effects of the upbringing and
education by same-sex parents on the psychological adjustment of their children
(construct called Individual Opposition). The second component involves making the

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

11

opinions using the heterosexist norm as the cause of the child's maladjustment
(construct called Normative Opposition). The correlation between the two subscales is
statistically significant (r= . 51, p< . 001).
Reliability Estimates
The results of the analysis of the reliability of the Scale of Beliefs about Children's
Adjustment in Same-Sex Families show an adequate internal consistency of the items
and a high reliability of the two subscales, given the Cronbach's alpha values of 0. 87
and 0. 88 for the subscales of Individual Opposition and Normative Opposition,
respectively (see Table 2). The Cronbach's alpha value for the entire 14-item scale is
0. 90 (mean of 24. 94, SD=8. 45).
Table 2. Means, Standard Deviations, and Internal Consistency Estimates for ECAIFH
Subscales
Item

1
3
5
7
9
11
15
4
8
10
12
13
14
16

M

SD

Item-Total
Correlation

Individual Opposition(Cronbach's alpha= 0, 87)
1, 14
1, 90
, 704
, 97
1, 65
, 685
1, 02
1, 67
, 728
, 93
1, 45
, 726
, 73
1, 38
, 762
, 47
1, 18
, 466
, 81
1, 36
, 536
Normative Opposition (Cronbach's alpha= 0, 88)
1, 05
2, 34
, 731
, 96
2, 20
, 766
, 91
1, 96
, 725
, 97
2, 34
, 806
1, 01
1, 67
, 582
1, 15
2, 64
, 512
, 66
1, 36
, 637

Cronbach's
alpha: item
deleted
, 85
, 85
, 84
, 84
, 84
, 88
, 87
, 86
, 85
, 86
, 85
, 88
, 89
, 87

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

12

The descriptive statistics for the final 14-item scale are presented in Table 3. Keeping in
mind that the range of the score in each subscale varies from seven to thirty-two
(mode = 7 and mode = 12), a low score is observed in the two dimensions of opposition
in general terms in the sample of university participants. The mean score on the
Individual Opposition scale is 10. 58 (SD=4. 69), while on the Normative Opposition scale
a higher score is obtained, 14. 51 (SD=5. 19). The observed difference was statistically
significant (F(1, 197) = 117. 41, p < 0. 001, Cohen's d = 0. 79, CI 0. 59 to 0. 99).

Table 3. Descriptive statistics of the Individual Opposition and Normative Opposition
Subscales in the final 14-item SBCASSF scale

Mean
Standard Deviation
Mode
Range
Minim
Maxim

Individual Prejudice

Normative Prejudice

10. 58
4. 69
7
25
7
32

14. 51
5. 19
12
25
7
32

Validity
The study of the convergent validity of the Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment
in Homoparental Same-Sex Families was carried out based on the results provided by
the literature on homophobia and the study of the opinions about the biological or
learned origin of homosexuality, the social rights of homosexuals, traditional family
values as one of the goals to pursue in achieving personal fulfillment, the classical
assignment of gender roles and the supremacy of the family model with heterosexual
parents.

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

13

The results of the correlations between the two subscales and the beliefs about the
origin of homosexuality, measured with the Scale of Beliefs about the Origin of
Homosexuality (BOH), support the findings from previous studies (Frías, Pascual,
Monterde & Montejano, 2006). The scores on the Individual Opposition subscale do not
correlate in a statistically significant way with the factor that measures the belief that
homosexuality is biological or genetic (r=. 00, p=. 99), but it does when measuring the
belief that homosexuality is learned (r=. 79, p<. 001). The same pattern of correlations is
obtained with the Normative Opposition subscale, where the correlation with the genetic
attribution of homosexuality is not statistically significant (r=. 01, p=. 21), but it is with the
belief that homosexuality is learned (r=. 50, p<. 001). The correlations between the two
subscales of the SBCASSF and the items that make up the Scale of beliefs about the
origin of Homosexuality are presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Beliefs about the origin of homosexuality, social rights, family, sexism and
heterosexism

Origin of homosexuality
Homosexuality is an inevitable behavior that is determined by genetics.
The sexual orientation is caused by biological factors like genes and
hormones.
Genetic factors are the causes of homosexuality.
On many occasions, homosexual behavior is learned.
A child educated by homosexuals will be more likely to have homosexual
tendencies.
Children need a father and a mother who can provide them with
masculine and feminine roles.
I think homosexual parents will influence the sexual orientation of their
children.
Civil rights
Nowadays, celebrating "Gay Pride Day" doesn't make any sense
because their rights have already been recognized.
Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual
couples.

Individua
l
Prejudice

Normativ
e
Prejudice

r=-. 04
(p=. 56)
r=. 02
(p=. 83)
r=. 03
(p=. 64)
r=. 43
(p<. 001)
r=. 64
(p<. 001)
r=. 77
(p<. 001)
r=. 66
(p<. 001)

r=. 05
(p=. 49)
r=. 09
(p=. 20)
r=. 11
(p=. 12)
r=. 35
(p<. 001)
r=. 36
(p<. 001)
r=. 48
(p<. 001)
r=. 41
(p<. 001)

r=. 16
(p=. 03)
r= -. 40
(p<. 001)

r=. 13
(p=. 07)
r= -. 14
(p=. 05)

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families
I think it was a mistake to legalize marriage between people of the same
sex.
Recognizing the rights of homosexual couples with a civil contract is
enough, and it would avoid controversy.
Values related to the family
Having a family is one of my most important goals in reaching personal
fulfillment.
Sexism
Women are usually better suited than men for taking care of children and
the elderly.
Heterosexism
Children have the right to grow up in an atmosphere that is as close as
possible to the natural family with a father and mother.
I highly respect whatever sexual orientation people may have, but
allowing adoption involves the future of a child, and the best thing for
a child's development is a father and a mother.
If children could choose, I am almost positive that they would prefer a
dad and a mom.

r=. 57
(p<. 001)
r=. 24
(p=. 001)

r=. 26
(p<. 001)
r=. 10
(p=. 15)

r=. 29
(p<. 001)

r=. 30
(p<. 000)

r=. 40
(p<. 000)

r=. 34
(p<. 000)

r=. 68
(p<. 000)

r=. 38
(p<. 000)

r=. 78
(p<. 000)

r=. 36
(p<. 000)

r=. 61
(p<. 000)

r=. 50
(p<. 000)

14

When the opinions about the social rights of homosexuals are analyzed, the scores on
the Individual Opposition and Normative Opposition subscales correlate in a positive
and statistically significant way with the opinions that maintain that the legalization of
homosexual marriage in Spain was a `social' error (see Table 4) while in the other three
items they present a different profile. Only the scores on the Individual Opposition
subscale obtain statistically significant correlations with the belief that the rights of
homosexuals have already been recognized, even though they should not have the
same rights as heterosexual couples, supporting the idea that a civil contract would
have been sufficient for recognizing the rights of homosexuals, and it would have
avoided controversy (see Table 4).
The value of the family as a goal in striving for personal fulfillment, the sexist distribution
of the roles of men and women, and the belief in the greater well-being of the child
raised and educated in a family structure with heterosexual parents maintain positive
and statistically significant correlations with the scores on the Individual Opposition and
Normative Opposition subscales (see Table 4).

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

15

The scores on the two subscales of the SBCASSF correlate in a statistically significant
way with opinions about heterosexism, with the correlations being especially high on the
Individual Opposition subscale (see Table 4).
Discussion
The results of our study indicate that the new 14-item Scale of Beliefs about Children's
Adjustment in Same-Sex Families is a reliable and valid instrument that can be used to
measure opposition about the parenting of gay fathers and lesbian mothers. The
development of the SBCASSF scale responds to the lack of instruments that directly
measure what we could call `homoparentophobia' or the fear that a child will be
educated by a lesbian mother, a gay father or a couple of the same sex, resulting in the
appearance of childhood psychological problems, especially the social rejection of the
child (Frías-Navarro, 2005). This attitude is clearly discriminatory, as it incapacitates gay
fathers and lesbian mothers solely and exclusively due to their sexual orientation.
Recent research on the relationships between same-sex couples has focused on three
areas (Peplau & Fingerhut, 2007): the legalization of these relationships; the experience
of parenthood; and the impact of prejudice and social discrimination toward same-sex
couples. One of the arguments most widely used to reject the upbringing and education
of children by homosexual parents lies in the social rejection and discrimination to which
they will be subjected by a heterosexist society. As Litovich and Langhout (2004) point
out, it is ironic that the quality of the parenting of same-sex parents should be
questioned based on the difficulties the children will suffer in a society with prejudices
against homosexuals. Our study contributes to identifying this opposition, making it
possible to measure the construct of fear of gays and lesbians becoming parents, and

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

16

identifying two factors of the opposition to their parenthood. One factor is called
Individual Opposition, and it includes the beliefs derived from one's personal attitude
about the effects of homoparenthood. The other factor is called Normative Opposition,
and it uses social pressure as an argument to justify discrimination against same-sex
parents. The two types of prejudice are distinguishable but correlated.
To examine the discriminate validity of scale, we first expected participants to score
higher on the Normative Opposition than the Individual Opposition. This expectation
was based on the contention that the overt nature of the Individual Opposition, as
compared with the Normative, restrains participants' responses. The higher score on
the Normative Opposition subscale compared to the Individual Opposition subscale is a
sign of greater personal permissiveness to the sexual prejudice when the cause of the
problems of a child raised in a homoparental home is attributed to the heterosexist
society and not to one's own opinion.
From our point of view, heterosexist beliefs frame the so-called modern prejudice,
where normality and the privileges of the heterosexual model stand out as examples of
a healthy and natural life. The heterosexist model attributes the possible childhood
maladjustment to the social rejection suffered by gay fathers or lesbian mothers.
Moreover, the model highlights the value of a father and a mother as necessary
elements for the well-adjusted development of the child, regardless of the family
processes that take place within the family structure. Within this context, broader than
the mere fear of the homosexual person (homophobia), lies the development of the
SBCASSF instrument.

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

17

The correlations point out the statistically significant relationship between beliefs about
the maladjustment of the children raised and educated in homoparental families and
opinions that the origin of homosexuality is learned. Therefore, believing that
homosexuality is learned correlates with greater rejection of homosexual parenthood.
The subscale of Individual Opposition correlates with modern homophobic opinions
related to the recognition of the rights of homosexuals. However, both the Individual
Opposition and Normative Opposition subscales maintain a close link with traditional
family values, gender roles and, especially, beliefs that highlight the heterosexual
parental model as the natural and ideal family for the well-adjusted development of a
child.
The results of our study have limitations related to the type of sample (Psychology
students), and probably also related to nationality. It would be helpful to apply the
instrument using another type of sample and country, in order to be able to generalize
the results.
In conclusion, the results of our study contribute to the literature that supports the
transformation of sexual prejudice, providing evidence of a specific component of
homophobia: the rejection of the parenthood of gay fathers and lesbian mothers. The
interpretation of the discrimination finds support in the manifestation of modern
prejudice, which hides behind the heterosexism argument: in a heterosexist society, it is
better for the child not to be raised and educated by gay fathers or lesbian mothers. The
new sexual prejudice does not use an individual and open posture of personal
discrimination against the homosexual. Instead, it is maintained by social arguments
that do not affect the self-esteem of the subject.

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families

18

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Scale of Beliefs about Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families (SBCASSF)
(Frias-Navarro, 2009)
Instruction: Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements by circling
your answer using the scale from "1 = completely disagree" to "5 completely agree".

Item
1. In general, the social development of a child is better when it is
raised by a father and a mother, and not by a homosexual couple.
En general, el desarrollo social de un niño es mejor cuando es educado por
un padre y una madre y no por una pareja de homosexuales.
2. In general, children raised by homosexual parents will have more
problems than those who are raised by a father and a mother.
En general, los niños criados con padres homosexuales tendrán más
problemas que los que son criados por un padre y una madre.
3. It is more likely that the child will experience social isolation if
his/her friends know that his/her parents are homosexuals.
Es más probable que un niño sufra aislamiento social si sus amigos saben
que sus padres son homosexuales.
4. If children are raised by homosexuals, they will have more
problems with their own sexual identity than when they are raised by
a father and a mother.
Si los niños son criados por homosexuales tendrán más problemas de
confusión con su propia identidad sexual que si son criados por un padre y
una madre
5. If we want to defend the interests of the child, only heterosexual
couples should be able to adopt.
Si queremos defender los intereses del niño, sólo las parejas de
heterosexuales deberían poder adoptar
6. A child adopted by a homosexual couple will be the butt of jokes
and rejection by his/her classmates.
Un niño adoptado por una pareja de homosexuales será objeto de broma y
rechazo por parte de sus compañeros.
7. If a child is adopted by a homosexual couple, s/he will surely have
psychological problems in the future.

1

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5

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5

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Si un niño es adoptado por una pareja de homosexuales seguramente tendrá
problemas psicológicos en el futuro.

8. Surely, the classmates will reject a child whose father or mother is
homosexual.
Seguramente los compañeros rechazarán a un niño cuyo padre o madre es
homosexual.
9. A child who is raised by a homosexual couple will be teased by
his/her classmates.

Frias-Navarro (2009). Children's Adjustment in Same-Sex Families
Un niño que es educado por una pareja de homosexuales sufrirá las burlas de
sus compañeros.
10. The child raised by homosexual parents will probably not be
chosen as a leader by his/her classmates or friends.
Probablemente el niño criado por padres homosexuales no será escogido
como líder por sus compañeros de clase o amigos.
11. When a child manifests homosexual behaviors, it would be wise
to take him/her to the psychologist.
Cuando un niño manifiesta conductas homosexuales sería conveniente
llevarlo al psicólogo.
12. If the parents are homosexuals, it will be difficult for the child to be
invited to friends' parties.
Si los padres son homosexuales será difícil que los hijos sean invitados a las
fiestas de sus amigos.
13. A child raised by lesbian mothers will be an effeminate child.
Un niño educado por madres lesbianas será un niño afeminado.
14. The child usually hides the sexual orientation of his parents from
his friends out of fear of being rejected socially.
Lo más común es que el niño oculte la orientación sexual de sus padres a sus
amigos por el temor al rechazo social.
Individual Opposition: Items 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 11 and 13.
Normative Opposition: Items 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 14.

25

1

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