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The six dimensions of national culture are based on extensive research done by Professor Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov and their research teams. The application of this research is used worldwide in both academic and professional management settings.

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Dimensions of national culture: The Hofstede model of national culture consists of six dimensions. The cultural dimensions represent independent preferences for one state of affairs over another that distinguish countries rather than individuals from each other. The country scores on the dimensions are relative, in that we are all human and simultaneously we are all unique. In other words, culture can only be used meaningfully by comparison.

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The model consists of the following dimensions: Power Distance Index PDI This dimension expresses the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. The fundamental issue here is how a society handles inequalities among people.


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People in societies exhibiting a large degree of Power Distance accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In societies with low Power Distance, people strive to equalise the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power. Individualism versus Collectivism IDV The high side of this dimension, called Individualism, can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families.

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Its opposite, Collectivism, represents a preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular ingroup to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Society at large is more competitive. Its opposite, Femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life.

Society at large is more consensus-oriented. Uncertainty Avoidance Index UAI The Uncertainty Avoidance dimension expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. The fundamental issue here is how a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen?

The survey was available to complete online and in paper form. Data was collected from index parents who self-identified as being same-sex attracted, were residing in Australia, and were over the age of 18 years. Parents reported information for all children under the age of 18 years. The convenience sample was recruited using online and traditional recruitment techniques, accessing same-sex attracted parents through news media, community events and community groups.

Three hundred and ninety eligible parents contacted the researchers in the first instance with two reminders for non-completion.

Associated Data

Survey preparation comprised a scoping review of the literature [ 38 ], consultations with same-sex attracted parents and adult children with same-sex attracted parents. Standard demographic characteristics from population surveys and previous work with same-sex parent families were included [ 41 , 42 ]. The survey aimed to identify a contemporary picture of same-sex parent family socioeconomic contexts and family structures. Child health and wellbeing and perceived stigma were the two main outcome measures.

Common childhood conditions were recorded, as well as breastfeeding data and current immunisation status. Child health was measured using three scales. The Child Health Questionnaire CHQ , for children aged years, and the complementary Infant Toddler Quality of Life survey ITQOL , for children aged years, were used to measure multidimensional aspects of functioning and health-related quality of life [ 43 , 44 ]. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire SDQ is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire with five scales for children aged years [ 45 ].

Individual scale scores range from , with a total difficulties score ranging from excluding the prosocial scale. A lower score indicates better social and emotional wellbeing, with the exception of the prosocial scale where a higher score indicates better social and emotional wellbeing. Measures of perceived stigma were based on the stigmatisation scale for lesbian-parent families developed by Bos et al, the Bos Stigmatisation Scale BSS [ 18 ].


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  • This was adapted to represent all same-sex attracted parents. Parents were asked to indicate how often in the past year their family had experienced stigma related to the their same-sex attraction eg have people gossiped about you and your family, have people excluded you and your family? Each of the seven items is scored from 1 never to 3 regularly with the final score being the mean of all items. A higher score represents more frequent experiences of perceived stigma. Online surveys were automatically recorded into a database during survey completion and then exported into Microsoft Excel for Mac, version Paper surveys were double entered into the spreadsheet for cleaning and scoring.

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    Initially, descriptive statistics were used to describe health and wellbeing. The HOYVS was a school-based epidemiological study of the health and wellbeing of children aged years conducted to provide Australian normative data for the CHQ and establish its reliability and validity in the Australian context [ 39 ]. A two stage stratified design selected 24 primary and 24 secondary schools across Victoria, Australia, within each educational sector followed by the random sampling of an entire class at each year level in each school.

    Participants were recruited using random digit dialing and were stratified by geographical distribution. Data were collected via a computerised assisted telephone interview with only one child per household included in the survey. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire formed one component of the survey. Where appropriate, socio-demographic characteristics were dichotomised. Model assumptions of normality and equality of variance were supported by appropriate residual plots. All participants gave informed consent before taking part.

    These parents provided data on children. Data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children suggests that The most striking difference is in parent education level where a much higher proportion of parents from the ACHESS have a tertiary education. For children aged years old the prevalence was slightly lower at This is the first study of child health in same-sex parented families in Australia and the largest study of its kind internationally, to date.

    As such it can be used to understand a broad range of families where at least one parent is same-sex attracted. The findings suggest that there is no evidence to support a difference in parent-reported child health for most measures in these families when compared to children from population samples, which was also found with the previous smaller studies and those of lesbian families [ 4 , 18 , 49 ].

    The ACHESS makes a significant contribution to the literature as it succeeded in representing children being raised by same-sex attracted parents from a broader range of family contexts than studies previously. The recruitment of 91 children with male same-sex attracted parents allows for the first time a sample size large enough to enable analysis of child health and wellbeing that includes children growing up with at least one gay male parent.

    Eleven per cent of children in same-sex couple households had male parents when the Australian census measured in [ 1 ], and as this number grows it is necessary to better understand child health and wellbeing in this context. Socio-demographically, the parent sample has a high level of education and income, relative to population median income [ 47 ], and normative samples. While there is evidence to suggest that maternal education in particular is related to improved child health [ 50 ] it is not clear how this translates to same-sex families where the relationship between gender roles and parenting is less clear [ 30 ].

    This difference in education and income must be considered however when viewing these results, even having adjusted for disparities in statistical analyses. Higher relative income in same-sex families is not surprising however, given that there is often a need to engage in costly and complex medical procedures in order to create a family where the parents are same-sex attracted. Children with male index parents are more commonly born through surrogacy arrangements.

    However, with commercial surrogacy illegal throughout Australia, and altruistic surrogacy poorly established, these arrangements often take place overseas, and thus parents with lower incomes may be less likely to avail this method. This situation also explains the number of children with a male index parent who were born in the US and India, two of the more commonly accessed territories for this process.

    Further, despite the fact that Australia is yet to have legislated to ensure marriage equality it appears that family transitions in our sample of same-sex parent families are similar to the general population. Key child health promotion and illness prevention strategies appear to resonate well with our sample of same-sex parent families as seen by the rates of immunisation and breastfeeding.

    This is usually achieved via surrogate milk donation and is an indication that same-sex male parents make efforts to support this health strategy for their children. The three areas where statistically significant differences were seen are general behavior, general health and family cohesion.

    Population and clinical studies have demonstrated that there are socially and clinically meaningful differences of 5 points on the scales within the CHQ. The small difference seen between the ACHESS sample and the general population on the general behaviour domain was not observed with the behavioural components of the SDQ, which may be related to the origin and development of the two measures, where the CHQ is more related to functioning and the SDQ used as a screening tool.

    This is an important area for further exploration. The general health scale is a broad concept measured by a single item within the CHQ, however the size of difference is notable. Qualitative interviews accompanying this study might raise themes and issues to enable greater understanding of what could be influencing this finding, possibly related to improved communication via family cohesion. The results for family cohesion are significant. Individual suitability rather than societal convention is more likely therefore to inform parenting roles.

    This has the potential to engender greater family harmony in the long-term. Whilst children with same-sex attracted parents from our sample demonstrate comparable health to other children across the population, it is clear that they, and their families, are experiencing stigma.


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    • Previous work has suggested that stigma and homophobia are related to problem behavior and conduct problems in children with same-sex attracted parents [ 17 , 33 , 18 ]. Our findings support and strengthen the idea that stigma related to parental sexual orientation is associated with a negative impact on child mental and emotional wellbeing.