The Rainbow Families Scale (RFS): a measure of experiences among individuals with lesbian and gay parents

J Appl Meas. 2011;12(3):222-41.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Homosexuality, Male*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult