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Jul 08, 2014 04:30 AM EDT

Children Raised By Homosexual Couples Are Healthier, Study

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Children raised by homosexual couples are healthier as compared to those nurtured by heterosexual couples, according to a University of Melbourne study.

For the study, researchers used data from the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex families that comprised of 315 homosexual parents (80 percent - female parents and 18 percent male parents) and 500 children.

The researchers found that children raised by homosexual couples fared six percent higher on an average than the general population on general health and family cohesion tests. These children had above average health and well-being.

"These children are growing up in a range of family contexts formed in a range of ways; from previous heterosexual relationships, to assisted reproductive technologies and same sex co-parenting arrangements," said lead researcher Dr. Simon Crouch from the Jack Brockhoff Child Health in a statement.

On tests relating to temperament, mood, behavior, mental health, emotional role and self-esteem, these children scored equivalent to the other children.

Crouch said that homosexual couples are more likely to share child care and household work responsibilities more equally than heterosexual couples. The "sharing and caring" behavior creates a harmonious environment at home and has a positive impact on child health.

The study showed that children can thrive in a wind range of family contexts and can gain positive benefits with regard to health and well-being.

Despite positive outcomes, researchers said that two thirds of children from same-sex families suffer some form of stigma due to their parents' sexual orientation. The overt or harmful discrimination including being bullied and abused at school, impacts the mental and emotional well-being of the children.

"However it was through improved awareness of stigma that these findings could play an important role in developing health policies that improve child health outcomes," Crouch said.

The study is published in the journal BMC Public Health. 

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