Rachel H. Farr

  • Assistant Professor, Developmental Psychology
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Psychology
Kastle 012-B, Bowman 103 (Lab)
(859) 257-4393
Other Affiliations:
  • Family Sciences
Research Interests:

Please note: I am not currently considering accepting new PhD students.

Undergraduates interested in working in the FAD Lab can fill out an application (for PSY 394 credit) at any time during the year -- see link to the left. Interviews primarily happen midway through the spring semester for the following academic year. Undergraduates interested in pursuing an honors thesis (PSY 495 / 496) with the FAD Lab in their senior year should discuss the possibility with me no later than their 2nd semester of their junior year.


In directing the FAD Lab (Families, Adoption, and Diversity) here at UK as part of the Developmental Psychology area, I conduct research related to diverse family systems and issues of adoption through the lenses of Developmental and Community Psychology, with particular interest in child development, parenting, and family functioning. I primarily study adoptive families and families headed by LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) parents. I'm also interested in how issues of race (e.g., transracial adoption), gender, and birth family contact are relevant in adoptive families. Given the intersections of this area of research with public policy, practice, and law, it is exciting that some of our findings have been influential in media circles, public debates, and legal and policy domains. See some of the media mentions and amicus briefs citations via the tabs on the left for more information!

We have several key research projects currently ongoing, as well as others not listed here! See some of our recent publications from this project (as well as related others) below.

1. For over 10 years, I have been conducting a longitudinal study of adoptive families headed by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents. We have data collected from two time points: when children were preschoolers, as well as when they were in middle childhood (elementary school-age). We plan to follow up with families in the next few years when children are in adolescence!

2. We are currenting conducting a study regarding the experiences and well-being of birth family members connected to adoptive families (who may or may not have current contact with other another). As research has often focused on the perspectives of individuals who are adopted and their adoptive parents, it is so important to hear the stories of birth parents and birth relatives!

3. We are also beginning new data collection from racially and socioeconomically diverse adolescents (both locally and across the country) with LGBTQ parents about their intersectional experiences of identity (e.g., race, class, adoption, parents’ sexual orientation) and discrimination. We will explore feelings about relationships with family and friends, as well as positive identity development, coping behaviors, and perceptions of community and support resources.

4. In collaboration with the labs of Dr. Christia Brown and Dr. Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi in Psychology at UK, we are exploring elementary school-age children’s attitudes about diverse families, such as those formed through adoption, those with same-sex parents, and those who are multiracial.

  • BS, Cornell University (Animal Science, Education)
  • MAT, Cornell University (Education)
  • PhD, University of Virginia (Psychology)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Rudd Adoption Research Program)
Selected Publications: 

*student co-author

*Wyman Battalen, A., Farr, R. H., Brodzinsky, D. M., & McRoy, R. G. (2018). Socializing children about family structure: Perspectives of lesbian and gay adoptive parents. Journal of GLBT Family Studies. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2018.1465875

Farr, R. H., *Salomon, I., Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., & Brown, C. S. (2018). Elementary school-age children’s attitudes toward same-sex parent families. Journal of GLBT Family Studies. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2018.1452659

Farr, R. H., & Goldberg, A. E. (2018). Sexual orientation, gender identity, and adoption law (In C. J. Patterson & C. Ball, Eds. special issue on Sexual Orientation, Gender Diversity, and Family Law). Family Court Review, 56(3), 374-383doi:10.1111/fcre.12354

*Simon, K. A., Tornello, S. L., Farr, R. H., & Bos, H. M. W. (2018). Envisioning future parenthood among bisexual, lesbian, and heterosexual women (In J. C. Gonsiorek, M. E. Brewster, A. L. Brimhall, A. Pollitt, & L. E. Ross, Eds., special section on Bisexual Issues). Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 5(2), 253-259. doi:10.1037/sgd0000267

Farr, R. H., *Bruun, S. T., *Doss, K. M., & Patterson, C. J. (2018). Children’s gender-typed behavior from early to middle childhood in adoptive families with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents. Sex Roles, 78(7), 528-541. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0812-5

Farr, R. H., *Ravvina, Y., & Grotevant, H. G. (2018). Birth family contact experiences among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents with school-age children (In B. van Eeden-Moorefield, Ed., special issue on Intersectional Variations in the Experiences of Queer Families). Family Relations, 67(1), 132-146. doi:10.1111/fare.12295

*Sumontha, J., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2017). Children’s gender development: Associations with parental sexual orientation, division of labor, and gender ideology. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 4(4), 438-450. doi:10.1037/sgd0000242  

Farr, R. H., Tasker, F., & Goldberg, A. E. (2017). Theory in highly cited studies of sexual minority parent families: Variations and implications. Journal of Homosexuality, 64(9), 1143-1179. doi:10.1080/00918369.2016.1242336

Patterson, C. J., & Farr, R. H. (2017). What should we call ourselves? Last names among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples and their adopted children. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 13(2), 97-113. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2016.1169239

Cody, P. A., Farr, R. H., McRoy, R. G., Ayers-Lopez, S. J., & Ledesma, K. J. (2017). Youth perspectives on being adopted from foster care by lesbian and gay parents: Implications for families and adoption professionals. Adoption Quarterly, 20(1), 98-118. doi:10.1080/10926755.2016.1200702

Farr, R. H. (2017). Does parental sexual orientation matter? A longitudinal follow-up of adoptive families with school-age children. Developmental Psychology, 53(2), 252-264. doi:10.1037/dev0000228

Farr, R. H. (2017). Factors associated with relationship dissolution and post-dissolution adjustment among lesbian adoptive couples (In S. Holley, Ed., special issue on contemporary lesbian relationships). Journal of Lesbian Studies, 21(1), 88-105. doi:10.1080/10894160.2016.1142354

Farr, R. H., *Simon, K. A., & *Bruun, S. T. (2017). LGBTQ relationships: Families of origin, same-sex couples, and parenting. In N. R. Silton (Ed.), Family dynamics and romantic relationships in a changing society (pp. 110-136). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-2404-5.ch006

*Oakley, M. K., Farr, R. H., & Scherer, D. G. (2017). Same-sex parent socialization: Understanding gay and lesbian parenting practices as cultural socialization. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 13(1), 56-75. doi:10.1080/1550428X.2016.1158685

Farr, R. H., *Oakley, M. K., & *Ollen, E. W. (2016). School experiences of young children and their lesbian and gay adoptive parents (In N. C. Heck, V. P. Poteat, & C. S. Goodenow, Eds., special issue on advances in research with LGBTQ youth in schools). Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(4), 442-447. doi:10.1037/sgd0000187

*Sumontha, J., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2016). Social support and coparenting among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(8), 987-996. doi:10.1037/fam0000253

Farr, R. H., & Tornello, S. L. (2016). The transition to parenthood and early child development in families with same-sex parents. International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, 3(3), 17-22.
Farr, R. H., *Flood, M. E., & Grotevant, H. D. (2016). The role of siblings in adoption outcomes and experiences from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(3), 386-396. doi:10.1037/fam0000173
Farr, R. H., *Crain, E. E., *Oakley, M. K., *Cashen, K. K., & *Garber, K. J. (2016). Microaggressions, feelings of difference, and resilience among adopted children with sexual minority parents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(1), 85-104. doi:10.1007/s10964-015-0353-6
Farr, R. H., & Goldberg, A. E. (2015). Contact between birth and adoptive families during the first year post-placement: Perspectives of lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents. Adoption Quarterly, 18(1), 1-24. doi:10.1080/10926755.2014.895466
Patterson, C. J., Farr, R. H., & Hastings, P. D. (2015). Socialization in the context of family diversity. In J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization (2nd ed., pp. 202-227). New York: Guilford Press.
Farr, R. H., *Grant-Marsney, H. A., & Grotevant, H. D. (2014). Adoptees’ contact with birth parents in emerging adulthood: The role of adoption communication and attachment to adoptive parents. Family Process, 53(4), 656-671. doi:10.1111/famp.12069
Farr, R. H., *Grant-Marsney, H. A., *Musante, D. S., Grotevant, H. D., & Wrobel, G. M. (2014). Adoptees’ contact with birth relatives in emerging adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Research, 29(1), 45-66. doi:10.1177/0743558413487588
Farr, R. H., Diamond, L. M., & Boker, S. M. (2014). Female same-sex sexuality from a dynamical systems perspective: Sexual attraction, desire, and behavior. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(8), 1477-1490. doi:10.1007/s10508-014-0378-z
Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2013). Coparenting among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples: Associations with adopted children’s outcomes. Child Development, 84(4), 1226-1240. doi:10.1111/cdev.12046
Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2013). Lesbian and gay adoptive parents and their children. In A. E. Goldberg & K. R. Allen (Eds.), LGBT-parent families: Possibilities for new research and implications for practice (pp. 39-55). New York: Springer Publications.
Tornello, S. L., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2011). Predictors of parenting stress among gay adoptive fathers in the United States. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(4), 591-600. doi:10.1037/a0024480
Patterson, C. J., & Farr, R. H. (2011). Coparenting among lesbian and gay couples. In J. McHale & K. Lindahl (Eds.), Coparenting: Theory, research, and clinical applications (pp. 127-146). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Farr, R. H., Forssell, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2010). Parenting and child development in adoptive families: Does parental sexual orientation matter? Applied Developmental Science, 14(3), 164-178. doi:10.1080/10888691.2010.500958
Farr, R. H., Forssell, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (2010). Lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents: Couple and relationship issues. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 6(2), 199-213. doi:10.1080/15504281003705436 
Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2009). Transracial adoption by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents: Who completes transracial adoptions and with what results? Adoption Quarterly, 12(3-4), 187-204. doi:10.1080/10926750903313328
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