Preadoptive Factors Predicting Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples’ Relationship Quality Across the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood

By Abbie E. Goldberg, Deborah A. Kashy, JuliAnna Z. Smith
August 2010

The authors examined preadoptive factors as predictors of relationship quality (love, ambivalence, and conflict) among 125 couples (44 lesbian couples, 30 gay male couples, and 51 heterosexual couples) across the 1st year of adoptive parenthood. On average, all new parents experienced declines in their relationship quality across the 1st year of parenthood regardless of sexual orientation, with women experiencing steeper declines in love. Parents who, preadoption, reported higher levels of depression, greater use of avoidant coping, lower levels of relationship maintenance behaviors, and less satisfaction with their adoption agencies reported lower relationship quality at the time of the adoption. The effect of avoidant coping on relationship quality varied by gender. Parents who, preadoption, reported higher levels of depression, greater use of confrontative coping, and higher levels of relationship maintenance behaviors reported greater declines in relationship quality. These findings have implications for professionals who work with adoptive parents both pre- and postadoption.

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