The student-initiated article that generated the most discussion was by Gartrell, Bos, and Goldberg (2011), demonstrating that adolescents raised in a lesbian parent household do not substantially differ from adolescents in matched households, except that these young women are substantially more likely to report being bisexual. These findings led to discussion about how to measure such differences, and whether new laws about same-sex marriage might change both the effects of having same-sex parents, and research on the topic.
Another interesting student-initiated article was by Natsuaki, Ge, Reiss, & Neiderhiser (2009). The authors aimed to examine causes of sibling similarity in aggression, recognizing that past research has pointed to genetic similarity and shared environment. In support of the deviancy training hypothesis, they demonstrated that exposure to sibling aggression at one point in time predicted more externalizing problems at a subsequent time point.
In general, students were excited to talk about sibling research, I believe at least in part because they have had less exposure to it than to parent-child research.
Although we didn’t end up discussing it, a third student-initiated article that interested me was by Spence, Henderson, and Elder (2013) examined the effects of family structure on military enlistment, demonstrating that living with a stepparent doubled the odds of military enlistment, even after controlling for other potential confounds.
“The post This week in Adolescent Development: Family context first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on February 25, 2014.”