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Parent-child relationship quality and psychological wellbeing among adoptive families

Anthony, Rebecca Elizabeth 2018. Parent-child relationship quality and psychological wellbeing among adoptive families. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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There is a paucity of UK research addressing family factors that may attenuate or add to existing risk for psychopathology in children adopted from care. The participants in this research were part of the Wales Adoption Cohort Study, a prospective longitudinal study to examine the experiences of newly formed adoptive families. The Child Adoption Records of all children placed for adoption in Wales over a one-year period (N = 374) were reviewed. Adoptive parents of these children (n = 96) completed questionnaires at four months, 16 months and 32 months into the adoptive placement. A subsample of parents (n = 40) took part in an interview, which included the pre-school five minute speech sample. Children in this sample had higher rates of psychopathology than those in the UK general population. Nearly half the children had experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) whilst living with their birth parents. In addition, adoptive parents had depression symptom scores significantly higher than the UK general population and they remained stable across time. Parents who adopted older children, sibling groups, those with a lower parental sense of competency and less support from family were at increased risk for depression. Despite this, most parents were rated as showing high warmth towards their children and experiencing a positive relationship. Overall, adoptive parent warmth predicted lower levels of child externalizing and internalizing behaviours, and cross-lagged models showed that parental warmth predicted increases in subsequent child-to-parent warmth. However, analysis also revealed that parental warmth moderated the relationship between the number of adverse childhood experiences and child internalizing problems, such that children who experienced more adversity prior to placement and lower adoptive parent warmth had the highest internalizing problem scores. Findings are discussed in the context of relevant literature and existing approaches to supporting adoptive families.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: School of Psychology, ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 14 March 2019
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2021 13:55

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