Defense Date

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Barbara J. Myers

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the adjustment of older children and adolescents adopted from Eastern Europe and the impact of their preadoption history and family’s functioning on their adjustment. This is a follow-up study of families first surveyed in 2005 with an addition of new families. One hundred and forty-five families reporting on 194 adopted children (9 to 19 years; 104 girls) participated in this study at Time 2. The project was conducted as an internet-based survey. Parents and adopted children reported on children’s emotional, behavioral and social problems (CBCL and YSR), as well as family environment (FACES-III and PEQ). Children also reported on their attachment to parents (IPPA) and their preoccupation with adoption (ADQ). Results revealed that children adopted as infants or toddlers (18 months and younger) evidenced lower problem behaviors and higher competence scores than children adopted at later ages. History of preadoption abuse and/or neglect also played a role. Children without such history scored better on all problem and competency scales than their peers with reported history of either abuse or neglect. Relationships with the adoptive parents and family environment also contributed to better adjustment in this sample of adopted children. Children from more cohesive families displayed lower levels of internalizing and externalizing problems. Additionally, less conflict between adolescents and their parents was associated with lower levels of these problems. Adolescents with higher attachment levels to their parents self-reported lower internalizing and externalizing problems. Adolescents’ interest in their adoptions is a healthy thing; however, excessive preoccupation was associated with higher levels of internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety and depression. Preoccupation with adoption was not related to externalizing behaviors, as reported by children. This study replicates findings of previous studies of intercountry adoption of children from Eastern Europe. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2011

Included in

Psychology Commons

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