Associated Press (AP) writer David Crary published an article on a new study funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation and the American Education Research Association.
The study starts out with the provocative statement by the authors of the study that: “Adoptive families provide a critical case for evaluating the importance of the oft-assumed biological ties between parents and children.”
The AP article makes the case that ‘adoptive parents invest more time and financial resources in their children than biological parents.’ The article draws this conclusion from the 22 page study.
The study published in the American Sociological Review, according to the article, found that couples who adopt spend more money on their children and invest more time on activities with them.
The article quotes Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell as attributing the disparity in spending to the fact that parents of adoptive children “invest more is that they really want children and they go to extraordinary means to have them.”
Researchers identified 161 families out of 13,000 households with first graders whose data was examined that were headed by two adoptive parents.
The study looked at how adoptive parents rated on criteria such as helping with homework, parental involvement in school, exposure to cultural activities and family attendance at religious services.
The two questions asked in the study of data on these parents were:
- How do resources allocations to children in two-adoptive-parent families compare to those in two-biological-parent families and other alternatively structured families?
- How does the inclusion of sociodemographic factors alter the relationship between adoptive family structure and the allocation of resources to children?
In lay terms I understand the first question to ask is there a difference between family structures in how resources (time, money) are allocated to children.
If the study answer was no, the second question would not be meaningful.
Apparently, the researchers found a large enough difference between how adoptive and biological parents allocate resources to their children.
The second question seeks to identify why that difference exists.
It essentially asks what the adoptive parents are doing differently.
It may help to understand what the questions were when the researchers’ results are presented.
Per the article and the study; the researchers said that the 161 families with adoptive parents rated better overall than families with biological parents.
The researchers went on to say that their findings call into question the long-standing assumption that children are best off with their biological parents.
That assumption was used to uphold court rulings in New York and Washington against gay marriages.
The study concluded; “Ironically, the same social context that creates struggles for these alternative families may also set the stage for them to excel in some measures of parenting”; according to the article.
Peter Sprigg of the Conservative Family Research Group pointed out that the study focused on male/female adoptive couples and not on same sex adoptive couples. He questioned whether the study shed any light on adoptive parenting by gays.
The study itself does have items not mentioned in the initial article. It appears that adoptive two parent families have somewhat older parents, have greater income and have achieved higher levels of education. The study itself points to differences in adoptive parent families, biological intact families and alternative families that make up a segment of the total.
The study can be found in the published form in the American Sociological Review of by following the first web link at the end of this article.
Sources for this article:
Raleigh News & Observer February 13th, 2007 Adoptive Parents Buoyed
Boston Herald February 12th, 2007 Adoptive Parents get High Marks
Associated Press writer David Crary article
American Sociological Review website with the full 22 page study