Predictors of parenting intentions among childless lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adults

Doyle P. Tate, Charlotte J. Patterson, Andrew J. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Disparities in the intention to parent have been found for lesbian and gay individuals compared with heterosexual individuals, but little is known about what social contexts predict these differences. Qualities of family relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships may all play a role, but these have not been studied as a function of sexual orientation. Using a large national sample of adults in the United States, this study explored intentions for parenthood, ideal family size, and predictors of parenting intentions as a function of gender and sexual orientation. Results showed that fewer lesbian and gay than heterosexual individuals intended to become parents. In addition, among those who intended parenthood, lesbian and gay individuals reported smaller intended family sizes than did their heterosexual peers. Sociocontextual and demographic variables predicted parenting intentions similarly among all participants, regardless of sexual orientation. However, dissimilarities in the levels of these predictors explained some of the disparity in parenting intentions between lesbian/gay and heterosexual participants. Much remains to be learned about the role of sexual orientation in family formation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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