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Modern Families
Parents and Children in New Family Forms


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  • Date Published: March 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107650251

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About the Authors
  • Modern Families brings together research on parenting and child development in new family forms including lesbian mother families, gay father families, families headed by single mothers by choice and families created by assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation and surrogacy. This research is examined in the context of the issues and concerns that have been raised regarding these families. The findings not only contest popular myths and assumptions about the social and psychological consequences for children of being raised in new family forms but also challenge well-established theories of child development that are founded upon the supremacy of the traditional family. It is argued that the quality of family relationships and the wider social environment are more influential in children's psychological development than are the number, gender, sexual orientation, or biological relatedness of their parents or the method of their conception.

    • Integrates research from a diverse range of new family forms including: lesbian mother families, gay father families, families headed by single mothers by choice and families created by assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation and surrogacy
    • Challenges popular assumptions and prejudices about these new family forms and addresses ethical concerns about the creation of such families
    • Empirical research demonstrates that family structure matters less for children's psychological development and wellbeing than the quality of family relationships
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    • Honourable Mention, 2016 PROSE Award for Psychology

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book would be most beneficial to any professional working systemically or for any professional working with more contemporary family form to better understand how that family form works in order to parent well and to be aware of where potential conflicts may arise.' The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (

    'For years, a basic premise was that the more a family deviated from the traditional, two-parent, heterosexual family, the more the child's psychological well-being was in jeopardy. Golombok addresses a more elemental question by asking how the parenting children in new families experience actually differs from that found in traditional families. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals, [and] general readers.' Choice

    '… Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms reviews the newer research focused on families created through assisted reproductive procedures or lesbian-headed and gay-headed families. The book includes well-written introduction and conclusion chapters and six chapters that review research on various family formations. For readers with a college vocabulary, [Golombok] does an excellent job of describing each study, the results and the limitations. The last chapter does a particularly good job of summarizing the findings and pulling it all together, and it should be required reading for any professionals who work with these families.' PsycCRITIQUES

    'Modern Families is a landmark publication, a succinct state-of-the-art review, and is highly relevant reading for researchers in developmental psychology or family studies and for students in these fields. Policymakers, and indeed parents or want-to-be parents of children brought up in de novo or planned lesbian or gay families, will also want to read this rich and inspiring book.' Fiona Tasker and Victor Figueroa, Journal of GLBT Family Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107650251
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Lesbian mother families
    3. 'Test-tube' baby families
    4. Donor conception families
    5. Surrogacy families
    6. Solo mother families
    7. Gay father families
    8. Conclusions.

  • Author

    Susan Golombok, University of Cambridge
    Susan Golombok is Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge.


    • Honourable Mention, 2016 PROSE Award for Psychology
    • Winner, 2016 Academic Monograph Book Award, British Psychological Society

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