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Adoptees' portrayal of the development of family structure

Abstract

Young adult adoptees and nonadoptees provided retrospective accounts of family relationships from infancy to young adulthood. Adoptive families were portrayed as more cohesive and adaptable than nonadoptive families. Adoptive fathers were recalled as being closer to their children then were nonadoptive fathers in the years preceding adolescence. Within the same time frame, adoptive mothers were drawn in a less hierarchical relation to their children than were other parents. Also, while adoptive males saw themselves as presently unconnected to their adoptive parents, adopted females perceived themselves as more connected to their parents in the present than any other period of time. Openness of communication and acknowledgment of difference in adoptive family formation varied with graphic retrospective accounts. Results were considered in terms of discontinuities between reported observations of adoptive families and adoptees' personal reflections on family developmental history.

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Correspondence to Michael P. Sobol.

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Received PhD in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Book. Research interests: adoptive family relations, social attributions of children and their parents.

Received M.A. from the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1. Research interests: development of identity, adoption.

Received Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Toronto. Research interests: attribution, jealousy, parents' theories of child psychology.

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Sobol, M.P., Delaney, S. & Earn, B.M. Adoptees' portrayal of the development of family structure. J Youth Adolescence 23, 385–401 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01536726

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Keywords

  • Time Frame
  • Health Psychology
  • Family Structure
  • Family Relationship
  • Young Adulthood