Pre-Adoption Adversities And Adoptees' Outcomes: The Protective Role Of Post-Adoption Variables In An Italian Experience Of Domestic Open Adoption.
Balenzano, Caterina. Coppola, Gabrielle. Cassibba, Rosalinda. Moro, Giuseppe.
Published: January 2018
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 85 , p. 307-318
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Academics agree that pre-adoption adversities are determining factors in post-adoption adjustment. However, few studies have yet to explore the role of factors intervening in the adoption process and the interplay between the child and adoptive family variables. Specifically, little is known about how the impact of early adversities is moderated by post-adoption factors to produce specific outcomes.The present study concerning domestic adoption explored the adjustment of 37 adolescents and 22 emerging adults (with age ranging between 11 and 18 and 18 and 24?years, respectively), adopted through an Italian form of open adoption, and analyzed the quality of adoptive family relationships and adoptees' attachment as possible moderating variables in the relation between multiple pre-adoptive risk factors and adoptees' outcomes. Pre-adoption stressors were derived from the official adoption files. The Family Environment Scale, Adult Attachment Interview and its modified version for adolescents were used to assess the two possible moderators. Psychological distress and wellbeing were the adoptees' outcomes, with the first being assessed through the Youth Self Report and the Symptom Checklist-90 revised to fit each age group, and the second being assessed through the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Test for the first age group and the Psychological Well-Being Scales, for the second age group. To treat the sample as a whole, the outcome measures were standardized within each group. Results of a path-analytic model with Process showed that the two moderators were significant only in the prediction of adoptees' distress: more specifically, attachment moderated the impact of age of first placement, type of foster care and the presence of biological children in the adoptive family, while the quality of adoptive family relationships moderated the impact of the frequency of birth-family contacts. Overall, the findings support the suggestion that attachment security and good current family relationships can mitigate the negative impact of pre-adoptive stressors on adoptees' later functioning, acting as protective factors. (Author abstract)
resilience; Italy; open adoption; adolescents; young adults; family relationships; attachment behavior; risk factors; well being; child placement; age factors; sibling relationships; BIRTH FAMILIES; POST ADOPTION CONTACT