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Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Problems in the Foster Family Context

Abstract

The main aim of this study was to identify the factors which are related to the greatest emotional and behavioral problems among children in the context of a foster family. Participants were 104 non-relative foster children and their respective foster families. A structural equation model was designed and tested in order to identify an explanatory model among the most relevant of the studied variables. The results showed that the model obtained offers a satisfactory structural fit and provides good explanatory power for children’s problems. More specifically, the data reveal the important role played by affective relationships and parental discipline style in relation to children’s problems within the foster family. Other factors involved were also analyzed. These results indicate that both parenting style and the kind of affect shown by foster parents towards the child are important predictors of the latter’s problems. Criticism/rejection on the part of foster parents increases problems through its influence on both the foster carer’s burden and the child’s self-esteem. These results are useful in order to prepare and support foster carers.

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Acknowledgments

This study is part of a Project of Excellence financed by the Government of Andalusia (SEJ-2647). Access to the families and information about the adolescents’ custody was obtained in collaboration with Infant Protection Services and Families of the Provincial Delegation for Social Welfare and the foster care agencies.

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Correspondence to María D. Salas.

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Salas, M.D., García-Martín, M.Á., Fuentes, M.J. et al. Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Problems in the Foster Family Context. J Child Fam Stud 24, 1373–1383 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-9944-1

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Keywords

  • Foster care
  • Foster children
  • Affective relationships
  • Parenting style
  • Foster carer burden