Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 202–212 | Cite as

Lesbian Mother Families and Gay Father Families in Italy: Family Functioning, Dyadic Satisfaction, and Child Well-Being

  • Roberto BaioccoEmail author
  • Federica Santamaria
  • Salvatore Ioverno
  • Lilybeth Fontanesi
  • Emma Baumgartner
  • Fiorenzo Laghi
  • Vittorio Lingiardi


The literature underlines that lesbian mother and gay father families are similar to those with heterosexual parents, regarding family functioning, dyadic satisfaction, and child development. This paper compares 40 same-sex families and 40 heterosexual parents in the Italian context. In Italy, it is impossible for same-sex couples or single lesbians and gay men to adopt a child, become married, or enter civil partnerships. The participants were administered self-reports, in order to investigate the dyadic relationships, family functioning, and emotional and social adjustment of their children. Lesbian and gay parents reported higher levels of dyadic adjustment, flexibility, and communication in their family than heterosexual parents. Data from the present study demonstrated that children raised by lesbian and gay parents showed a similar level of emotion regulation and psychological well-being than children raised by heterosexual parents. In Italy, negative attitudes towards same-sex families persist, and educational programs should be developed to deconstruct stereotypes regarding gay and lesbian parent families. These results have important implications in both clinical and social fields.


Child health Same-sex parent family Gay parent family Lesbian parent family Sexual stigma 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Baiocco
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federica Santamaria
    • 1
  • Salvatore Ioverno
    • 2
  • Lilybeth Fontanesi
    • 1
  • Emma Baumgartner
    • 1
  • Fiorenzo Laghi
    • 1
  • Vittorio Lingiardi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Dynamic and Clinical PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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