Charlotte J. Patterson

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States

Are you Charlotte J. Patterson?

Claim your profile

Publications (60)141.7 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objectives. We examined associations between adolescent girls' sexual identity and the gender of their sexual partners, on one hand, and their reports of sexual health behaviors and reproductive health outcomes, on the other. Methods. We analyzed weighted data from pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (2005 and 2007) representative of 13 US jurisdictions, focusing on sexually experienced girls in 8th through 12th grade (weighted n = 6879.56). We used logistic regression with hierarchical linear modeling to examine the strength of associations between reports about sexual orientation and sexual and reproductive health. Results. Sexual minority girls consistently reported riskier behaviors than did other girls. Lesbian girls' reports of risky sexual behaviors (e.g., sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol) and negative reproductive health outcomes (e.g., pregnancy) were similar to those of bisexual girls. Partner gender and sexual identity were similarly strong predictors of all of the sexual behaviors and reproductive health outcomes we examined. Conclusions. Many sexual minority girls, whether categorized according to sexual identity or partner gender, are vulnerable to sexual and reproductive health risks. Attention to these risks is needed to help sexual minority girls receive necessary services. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 14, 2014: e1-e7. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302037).
    American journal of public health. 08/2014;
  • Samantha L Tornello, Rachel G Riskind, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We studied sexual and reproductive health among self-identified bisexual, lesbian, and heterosexual adolescent young women. Prior research has suggested that bisexual and lesbian young women may be at greater risk for many negative health outcomes, including risky sexual and reproductive health behavior. Using data from the U.S. nationally representative 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we examined sexual and reproductive health among young women 15-20 years of age as a function of sexual orientation. We used logistic regression and ANCOVA to examine differences in sexual and reproductive health across groups while controlling for demographic group differences. Bisexual and lesbian young women reported elevated sexual and reproductive health risks. Bisexual and lesbian participants reported being younger at heterosexual sexual debut, and having more male and female sexual partners, than did heterosexual participants. Further, they were more likely than heterosexual young women to report having been forced to have sex by a male partner. Bisexual young women reported the earliest sexual debut, highest numbers of male partners, greatest use of emergency contraception, and highest frequency of pregnancy termination. Overall, sexual minority young women-especially those who identified as bisexual-were at higher sexual and reproductive risk than their heterosexual peers.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 10/2013; · 2.97 Impact Factor
  • Rachel H Farr, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Coparenting is associated with child behavior in families with heterosexual parents, but less is known about coparenting among lesbian- and gay-parent families. Associations were studied among self-reported divisions of labor, coparenting observations, and child adjustment (M(age) = 3 years) among 104 adoptive families headed by lesbian, gay, or heterosexual couples. Lesbian and gay couples reported sharing child care, whereas heterosexual couples reported specialization (i.e., mothers did more child care than fathers). Observations confirmed this pattern-lesbian and gay parents participated more equally than heterosexual parents during family interaction. Lesbian couples showed the most supportive and least undermining behavior, whereas gay couples showed the least supportive behavior, and heterosexual couples the most undermining behavior. Overall, supportive coparenting was associated with better child adjustment.
    Child Development 01/2013; · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • Rachel G. Riskind, Charlotte J. Patterson, Brian A. Nosek
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Lesbian and gay people are much less likely than others to become parents, and psychological factors may contribute to this difference. We explored self-efficacy about becoming a parent among geographically diverse, childless, lesbian and gay U.S. residents aged 18 to 44 years (N = 1,098). On average, participants reported that they were uncertain whether they could overcome financial barriers to parenthood or become biological parents without assistance from reproductive health providers. However, they were somewhat optimistic about overcoming barriers to adoptive and foster parenthood, and they were optimistic that they could somehow achieve parenthood if they wanted. Participants who were younger, who reported that children with lesbian or gay parents enjoy positive outcomes, and who lived in social climates favorable for members of sexual minorities reported the highest self-efficacy about achieving parenthood. These results contribute to understanding of family formation among sexual minority adults.
    06/2012;
  • Source
    Samantha L. Tornello, Charlotte J. Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many gay men have become parents in the context of heterosexual relationships; ultimately, some separate from female partners while others stay with them. In this study, we compared the experiences of 110 formerly married gay fathers who were currently in relationships with men, 44 formerly married gay fathers who were currently single, and 14 gay fathers who remained married to women. In an Internet survey, we examined relationship satisfaction, parenting stress, sexual orientation disclosure, and gay identity among these men, all of whom had become fathers in the context of heterosexual relationships. Results showed that gay fathers who were currently married to women reported lower relationship satisfaction, affection, consensus, and lower overall dyadic adjustment in their current relationships. Formerly married gay fathers who were currently single or currently in relationships with male partners reported greater openness about their sexual identities than did still-married gay fathers. The men who were currently in relationships, however, did not report differences in relationship cohesion or parenting stress as a function of partners’ gender. In summary, self-identified gay men who were currently in relationships with women reported less openness about their sexual orientation and lower relationship satisfaction, but not more parenting stress than did formerly married gay fathers.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 01/2012; 8(1):85-98.
  • Source
    Samantha L Tornello, Rachel H Farr, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The authors examined correlates of parenting stress among 230 gay adoptive fathers across the United States through an Internet survey. As with previous research on adoptive parents, results showed that fathers with less social support, older children, and children who were adopted at older ages reported more parenting stress. Moreover, gay fathers who had a less positive gay identity also reported more parenting stress. These 4 variables accounted for 33% of the variance in parenting stress; effect sizes were medium to large. Our results suggest the importance of social support and a positive gay identity in facilitating successful parenting outcomes among gay adoptive fathers.
    Journal of Family Psychology 06/2011; 25(4):591-600. · 1.89 Impact Factor
  • David J Lick, Karen M Schmidt, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to two decades of research, parental sexual orientation does not affect overall child development. Researchers have not found significant differences between offspring of heterosexual parents and those of lesbian and gay parents in terms of their cognitive, psychological, or emotional adjustment. Still, there are gaps in the literature regarding social experiences specific to offspring of lesbian and gay parents. This study's objective was to construct a measure of those experiences. The Rainbow Families Scale (RFS) was created on the basis of focus group discussions (N = 9 participants), and then piloted (N = 24) and retested with a new sample (N = 91) to examine its psychometric properties. Exploratory factor analyses uncovered secondary dimensions and Rasch analytic procedures examined item fit, reliability, and category usage. Misfitting items were eliminated where necessary, yielding a psychometrically sound measurement tool to aid in the study of individuals with lesbian and gay parents.
    Journal of applied measurement 01/2011; 12(3):222-41.
  • Source
    Charlotte J. Patterson, Rachel G. Riskind
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: For many years, parenthood was considered to be the exclusive prerogative of heterosexual people. Today, gay men and lesbian women remain less likely than their heterosexual peers to have children, but increasing numbers of openly gay and lesbian adults are becoming parents. In this essay, we review social science research on the numbers of openly gay and lesbian parents, the ways in which their pathways to parenthood may be changing, and the extent to which childless gay and lesbian adolescents and young adults expect to become parents. We have much to learn about supports for and barriers to family formation as well as the impact of decisions about family formation among gay and lesbian populations. Directions for future research on sexual orientation and family formation are discussed.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 07/2010; 6(3):326-340.
  • Charlotte J. Patterson, Richard E. Redding
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we provide an overview of variability across jurisdictions in family law relevant to lesbian and gay parents and their children, showing that some courts have been negatively disposed to these families. We summarize recent research findings suggesting that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as are heterosexual parents to provide home environments that support positive outcomes among children. Research findings suggest that unless and until the weight of evidence can be shown to have shifted, parental sexual orientation should be considered irrelevant to disputes involving child custody, visitation, foster care, and adoption.
    Journal of Social Issues 04/2010; 52(3):29 - 50. · 1.96 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Rachel H. Farr, Stephen L. Forssell, Charlotte J. Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study explored some dynamics of couples’ relationships in 106 adoptive families headed by 29 gay, 27 lesbian, and 50 heterosexual couples with young children. Regardless of sexual orientation, most couples reported long-term relationships, secure attachments, and high relationship satisfaction. Parental sexual orientation was related to how often couples reported having sex. Lesbian couples reported having sex the least often, while gay couples reported having sex the most often. Sexual relationship satisfaction did not, however, differ as a function of parental sexual orientation. Overall relationship satisfaction was significantly correlated with sexual satisfaction, frequency of sexual relations, and greater attachment security. We discuss these results in context of earlier research on sexual orientation, parenting, and couple relationships.
    Journal of GLBT Family Studies 04/2010; 6(2):199-213.
  • Source
    Rachel G Riskind, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Parenthood is one of the most universal and highly valued experiences of American adults. However, lesbian and gay adults in the United States are much less likely than heterosexual adults to be parents. Our goal was to explore the reasons why this is the case. Using nationally representative data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), we studied parenting intentions, desires, and attitudes of childless lesbian, gay, and heterosexual individuals 15 to 44 years of age. We found that gay men and lesbian women were less likely than matched heterosexual peers to express desire for parenthood. Moreover, gay men who expressed desire to become parents were less likely than heterosexual men to express the intention to become parents; this was not true for women. Despite being less likely to express parenting desires, gay and lesbian participants endorsed the value of parenthood just as strongly as did heterosexual participants. By exploring the psychology of family formation as a function of sexual orientation, these results inform ongoing debates about sexual orientation and parenthood.
    Journal of Family Psychology 02/2010; 24(1):78-81. · 1.89 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Rachel H Farr, Stephen L Forssell, Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated child development and parenting in 106 families headed by 27 lesbian, 29 gay, and 50 heterosexual couples (80% White, M ¼ 42 years) with young adopted children (41% White, M ¼ 3 years). Parents and teachers reported that, on average, children were developing in typical ways. Measures of children's adjustment, parenting approaches, parenting stress, and couple relationship adjustment were not significantly associated with parental sexual orientation. However, several family process variables—parenting stress, parenting approaches, and couple relationship adjustment—were found to be significantly associated with children's adjustment, regardless of parental sexual orientation. Implications for understanding the role of gender and sexual orientation in parenting, as well as for legal and policy debates, are discussed. Should the sexual orientation of prospective adoptive parents be considered when placing children in adoptive homes? The adoption of minor children by lesbian and gay adults has been a topic of considerable debate. Although substantial research has demonstrated that children of lesbian and gay parents develop in ways that are similar to those of heterosexual parents, families with lesbian and gay parents remain controversial in courtrooms, legislatures, and in the media. Meanwhile, many children await placement with permanent families. For example, in the United States, there are over 500,000 children in the child welfare system and over 100,000 children currently waiting to be adopted (U.S. Department of Health, 2008). If lesbian and gay adults are found to be capable adoptive parents, it is likely in the interest of waiting children that they be considered (Ryan, Pearlmutter, & Groza, 2004; Wald, 2006).
    Applied Developmental Science - APPL DEV SCI. 01/2010; 14(3).
  • Source
    Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Legal and policy questions relevant to the lives of lesbian and gay parents and their children have recently been subjects of vigorous debate. Among the issues for which psychological research has been seen as particularly relevant are questions regarding child custody after divorce, same-sex marriage, adoption, and foster care. This article provides an overview of the current legal terrain for lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States today, an overview of relevant social science research, and some commentary on the interface between the two. It is concluded that research findings on lesbian and gay parents and their children provide no warrant for legal discrimination against these families.
    American Psychologist 11/2009; 64(8):727-36. · 6.87 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: At the current moment in history, the extent to which relationships among lesbian and gay parents and their children are recognized in law or respected in practice is in tremendous flux. For many years, the family relationships of lesbian and gay parents and their children were not legally recognized in most parts of the United States, or in most countries of the world. Today, these relationships are recognized in some jurisdictions, and the matter is under active debate in others. With regard to the social and legal status of lesbian and gay relationships, we are living in a time of tremendous and rapid change. In view of the rapidly shifting legal and policy environments, my aims in this chapter are threefold. First, I hope to summarize the current status of legal and policy issues as well as conceptual and theoretical issues relevant to lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States today. Second, I hope to provide an overview of research evidence about these families, with special emphasis on the development of children living within them. This overview will emphasize work I have undertaken in this area with colleagues and students over the last 15 years, but will also seek to place this work in the context of related research. Finally, I hope to summarize the implications of research findings for both theoretical concerns relevant to our conceptualizations of human socialization, and for practical concerns relevant to law and family policy. Current Contexts of Sexual Minority Family Lives Lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States today are the subjects of considerable controversy. Thus, an overview of the legal and policy contexts in which these families live in the United States today will be a useful tool for understanding their situations. In this section, we consider very briefly the legal status of lesbian and gay parents and their children, with regard to legal recognition of couple relationships, child custody and visitation, adoption and foster care.
    Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 02/2009; 54:141-82. · 1.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Rachel H. Farr, Charlotte J. Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Who completes transracial adoptions and with what results? This study explored pathways to and outcomes of transracial adoption among 106 families headed by lesbian (n = 27), gay (n = 29), and heterosexual (n = 50) couples. Transracial adoptions occurred more often among lesbian and gay than among heterosexual couples, and they occurred more often among interracial than among same-race couples. Lesbian and gay couples were more likely than heterosexual couples to be interracial. Transracial adoptions were also more common among those who gave child-centered reasons as compared to adult-centered reasons for adoption. There were, however, no differences in adjustment between transracial and inracial adoptive families. Implications for child welfare agencies and for legal and policy debates are discussed.
    Adoption Quarterly 01/2009; 12:187-204.
  • Charlotte J. Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article reports a study of maternal mental health, household composition, and children's adjustment among 37 families in which 4- to 9-year-old children had been born to or adopted early in life by lesbian mothers. Results showed that maternal reports of both self-esteem and psychological symptoms were within the normal range. Consistent with findings for heterosexual parents and their children, assessments of children's adjustment were significantly associated with measures of maternal mental health. These results underline the importance of maternal mental health as a predictor of children's adjustment among lesbian as well as among heterosexual families.
    Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy 11/2008; 4(3):91-107.
  • Source
    David M. Brodzinsky, Charlotte J. Patterson, Mahnoush Vaziri
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A nationwide survey of adoption agencies was conducted to examine their policies, practices, and attitudes with regard to lesbian and gay prospective adoptive parents. A total of 214 questionnaires were received, representing a return rate of 26 percent. Sixty-three percent of respondents indicated that their agency accepted applications from lesbian and gay individuals, and nearly 38 percent indicated that their agency had made at least one adoption placement with a lesbian or gay adult during the two-year period under study. Attitudes and practices regarding adoption by lesbian and gay individuals varied as a function of the religious affiliation (if any) of the agency, the type of children the agency predominantly placed for adoption, and the gender of the respondent. Overall, the results reveal that, while policies, practices, and attitudes vary across agencies, many adoption professionals are willing to work with lesbian and gay prospective parents, and, in fact, a substantial number have experience in doing so.
    Adoption Quarterly 10/2008; 5(3):5-23.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Much research on family economic hardship and its effects on children has been cross-sectional in nature, has focused primarily on white children, and has assessed the impact of episodic rather than chronic economic difficulties. In contrast, the present research was designed to study outcomes associated with persistent economic hardship among a heterogeneous group of children over time. Results showed that, for both black and white children, a broad range of difficulties was associated with enduring economic hardship. Children who experienced persistent family economic hardship were more likely than those who did not to have difficulties in peer relations, show conduct problems at school, and report low self-esteem. Children who experienced intermittent family economic hardship fell between the other 2 groups. Connections between persistent economic hardship and psychosocial adjustment were more pronounced for boys than for girls. Consistent with suggestions by a number of investigators, the impact of economic hardship on children in the present sample was mediated in part by its association with parental behavior.
    Child Development 06/2008; 66(4):1107 - 1129. · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • Charlotte J. Patterson, Janis B. Kupersmidt, Pamela C. Griesler
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We studied the relations among children's reports about their own competence, objective measures of their competence, and their views of important relationships with others as a function of sociometric status. 515 third- and fourth-grade children responded to questions about aspects of their personal competence and about their relationships with mothers, fathers, teachers, and best friends. Rejected children reported the least supportive relationships overall with their fathers of any status group; this was especially true of rejected-aggressive children. Neglected children reported the lowest perceived social competence with peers. The subjective reports of rejected but not neglected children overestimated their social competence as rated by peers. Relative to teacher reports, rejected-aggressive children also overestimated their behavioral competence. While highlighting heterogeneity among low-accepted groups, these results add to knowledge about the subjective experiences of children who are unpopular with peers.
    Child Development 06/2008; 61(5):1335 - 1349. · 4.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Charlotte J Patterson
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: What impact does sexual orientation have on human development over the life span? As questions related to sexual orientation have become increasingly topics of public discussion and debate in recent years, psychological study of the issues has also burgeoned. What was once a new frontier for research has matured into a large, complex, and rapidly growing area of knowledge. Important research is being conducted on many issues, by diverse investigators, from a number of theoretical perspectives, in many parts of the world. The articles in this special section provide only a sampling of current research, but they begin to suggest the vitality and excitement of a field that is coming into its own.
    Developmental Psychology 02/2008; 44(1):1-4. · 3.21 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
141.70 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1979–2013
    • University of Virginia
      • Department of Psychology
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • 2011
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Psychology
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Miami
      • Department of Psychology
      كورال غيبلز، فلوريدا, Florida, United States
  • 1995
    • Duke University Medical Center
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 1991
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Department of Psychology
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States