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The Schurman-Kauflin Study

In 2013, Psychology Today published an article titled;

Gay Relationships Can Be More Stable Than Straight Ones

The author of the article, one Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D., claimed to have undertaken a study which backed the headline. The article has subsequently been cited by others (EG1, EG2) and used misleadingly by some (EG).

The title is not much of a revelation, to those who have heard of the classic 24-hour Vegas marriages of some straight couples. Yes there are gay relationships that last longer than that. So the headline itself is not news. What would be news is if the average gay relationship was found to be more stable than that average straight relationship.

The author does state some impressive numbers though, portraying gay relationships as better quality than straight relationships on a few levels. These are uncommon findings, as far as Im aware, and might be regarded as propaganda, in light of a broad picture that takes into consideration the contrasting data that exists (EG).

I wanted to find out more, and so I googled. I noticed that I cant find the study in the usual scholarly databases like http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or university websites. And I get the impression that it hasnt been peer-reviewed. So I assume it’s not regarded as a scholarly study by those who specialise in this area. The author even concedes that “Since this was a convenience sample, the results could be affected by who was willing to respond.” IE the results could quite likely not be representative. I guess that’s why as far as I could see, the study is not mentioned in scholarly realms.

But were the data gathering and analysis otherwise balanced ? Unlike some studies, we are given little insight into this. Even the author’s own blog site doesnt share further details from the study, which seems to have happened 2 years prior to the magazine article. Age ranges or gender representation in her sample, are not provided. She just expects the reader to trust her. She says she interviewed a group that “consisted of gays and lesbians.” But if 90% of that group were lesbians, she will get a different outcome than if it’s 50/50. Details matter.

It’s not even easy to find out where she obtained her qualifications – her blog sites are silent on that mystery too (https://profiler1.wordpress.com/about/ ). And at the end of the article she makes statements that indicate bias, suggesting that her desire isnt simply to explore, but she appears to push an ideological barrow.

And is someone who writes articles such as “Ghosts and Spirits are Beneficial to Your Mental Health” (https://profiler1.wordpress.com/…/ghosts-spirits-can…/ ), going to use suitable scientific methodologies in her studies? Others have cast doubt on her analytical approach. Is this also why scholarly circles seem to have turned a blind eye to her findings ?

Certainly her findings warrant attention. But are her findings reliable? I dont know, but given the above problems, I have some doubts.

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