Same-Sex Relationship Dissolution and LGB Stepfamily Formation: Perspectives of Young Adults with LGB Parents


Department of Psychology, 950 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01610 (


Research has increasingly focused on intentional or planned lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB)-parent families; however, how young adults in these families navigate the aftermath of parental break-up and subsequent repartnering is unexamined. This qualitative study of 20 young adults who had experienced their LGB parents' relationship dissolution and/or the formation of an LGB stepfamily examined how young adults perceived their parents' relational transitions and their own relationships with stepparents and siblings. Results indicated that (a) nearly all families negotiated relational transitions (e.g., relationship dissolutions) informally and without legal intervention, (b) young adults perceived both advantages and disadvantages in the ambiguity surrounding their family's nonlegal status, (c) relationships with biological mothers were the strongest tie from break-up to repartnering and stepfamily formation, (d) geographic distance from their nonbiological parents created hardships in interpersonal closeness, (e) yet, on the whole, young people perceived their families as strong and competent in handling familial transitions.