Why Sociologists Should Be Critical of the New Family Structure Study

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12 Responses

  1. Per Smith says:

    He also submitted his paper for review before data collection had even finished. See Philip Cohen’s post on this – https://familyinequality.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/regnerus-study-timeline/

  2. Fernanda says:

    Great post!

  3. Moe says:

    Wow, Amanda, whatever one or another study might say, your moms raised a great kid (and a smart one too! So congrats to them and kudos to you!

    Meanwhile, the arc of history is with your family, and not with the Guns, God and Gays crowd. Their constituency is fading by simple attrition.

    You may already know that (to their elders’ horror) even young Evangelicals support gay rights.

  4. Gene Wolfgang says:

    Great job Amanda. Conclusions given without support from data seems to be an all too familiar theme when referring to gays and lesbians. Someday may we all be people.

  5. Ralph Durst says:

    Great Blog post Amanda – I’ve know you & your 2 parents since you were very little and have never known a more solid and stable family. What a fine young smart woman you have become and your up bringing had alot to do with you turning out so wonderful. My 2 sons were also raised partly by myself and partner of 15 years and they are both such happy and well educated young men who are very proud of their 2 sets of parents – one of which is gay. The world would be a much better place if more people would embrace the Gay & Lesbian community as we have so very much to offer – but only the ones that choose to embrace us reap the rewards.

  6. amy dunckel says:

    Great points being made here. I particularly like how you show how narrow Regenerus’s perspective has to be in order to make his conclusions. But I especially like that you share your story.

    For me, using sexuality to discuss themes of parenting seems like a pretty cowardly way to express your homophobic ideas. If you are interested in healthy childhood development why not look at alcoholism, drugs, abuse, or parents who work long hours. In their book “Mobile Lives” Anthony Elliot and John Urry give ethnographic accounts of the lives of globe trotters who work 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. Consequently their kids go to boarding school and in one case they show how a daughter battles severe depression, anorexia and other problems. What I am saying is I think that authors like Regenerus should title their agendas correctly, rather than hiding behind PC arguments like “a study of good parenting.”

  7. Misty says:

    Thank you, Amanda, for this illuminating post! I thought the peer review process was established to prevent this kind of bad sociology. With such glaring methodological problems, how can one explain the inclusion of this article in such a prestigious scholarly journal? Am I being an idealistic graduate student, or is this what we have to look forward to as we enter the field professionally?

  8. amanda says:

    Here’s another great critique of the New Family Structure Study…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-umberson/texas-professors-gay-research_b_1628988.html
    I particularly appreciate how clearly Umberson articulates the selection bias in this study: “By casting his net so widely for children of supposedly gay and lesbian parents, and so narrowly for the children of heterosexual couples, Regnerus practically guaranteed that his study would find that those with so-called gay and lesbian parents would fare worse than those with so-called heterosexual parents. His approach selected for people who had experienced far more stress and far less stability than average for their generation, much of which arguably had little to do with their parent’s sexual orientation. They experienced more parental divorce, remarriage, and adoption (perhaps preceded by foster care). They were also more likely to be nonwhite and less economically privileged.” Also, she points out that, although Regenerus had access at his own university to a number of qualified researchers studying LGBT families, he didn’t choose to discuss the study with them. Clearly, he was determined (if even just at a subconscious level, though I have a feeling it was more intentional) to find support for the traditional family.

    Though we hope that social (and other) scientists leave their prejudices aside when doing research, we have much evidence to the contrary. A long history of racially biased science (for example, scientists who systematically mis-measured cranial size and, surprise surprise, found that white people were “more intelligent” than those of other races), sexist conclusions that women’s biological “differences” (presence of a uterus, estrogen etc) make them unfit for higher education, and heterosexist research looking for “gay genes” and “lesbian ears” (geez, really?!: http://www.psy.utexas.edu/psy/articles/news-mcfadden.html)–this latest study should not shock us. But it definitely should leave us dismayed…and push us to demand soemthing better.

  9. mixbyhand says:

    Uh, the fact taht in tact gay families “really didn’t exist in numbers that could be amply obtained *randomly,* doesn’t really explain why he didn’t then just compare these children from “broken” “gay” homes with the chidlren of straight folks who were divorced – can’t tell me they’re hard to find. What an incompetent ahole.

  10. Karen Magee says:

    Great post Amanda. As part of your childhood community, I am very proud of your intelligence and your ability to use it to refute poor data and inaccurate conclusions. Thank you for writing this.

  11. amanda says:

    UPDATE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/10/supreme-court-gay-marriage_n_2850302.html
    It has recently been revealed that this study was constructed for political purposes and is basically a fraud–the funding agency hoped to use it in the battle against gay marriage. This certainly raises some important questions about research ethics and oversight. Still waiting to see what kind of punishment will be meted out for this bad behavior (on the part of the researcher, the journal editor, the article reviewers, and the funding agency, The Witherspoon Institute).

  1. 30th June 2012

    […] sosyolog Mark Regenerus’un New Family Structure Study verisinden devşirdiği analiz konuşuluyor. Regenerus’a göre heteroseksüel ailelerin çocukları, gey ve lezbiyen ailelerin […]

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