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J Fam Psychol. 2009 Feb;23(1):58-66. doi: 10.1037/a0014091.

Family interactions in adoptive compared to nonadoptive families.

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  • 1Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108, USA. mrueter@umn.edu

Abstract

Despite the large and growing numbers of adoptive families, little research describes interactions in families with adopted adolescents. Yet, adopted adolescents' increased risk for adjustment problems, combined with the association between family interactions and adolescent adjustment in nonadoptive families, raises questions about differences in adoptive and nonadoptive family interactions. We compared observed and self-reported family interactions between 284 adoptive and 208 nonadoptive families and within 123 families with 1 adopted and 1 nonadopted adolescent. Adolescents averaged 14.9 years of age. Comparisons were made using analysis of variance incorporating hierarchical linear methods in SAS PROC MIXED to control family-related correlations in the data. Parents and children reported more conflict in adoptive families when compared with nonadoptive families. Families with 1 adopted and 1 nonadopted adolescent reported more conflict between parents and adopted adolescents. Observed parental behavior was similar across adoptive and nonadoptive children although adopted adolescents were less warm and, in families with 2 adopted children, more conflictual than nonadopted adolescents. These findings suggest a need for further investigation of the association between family interactions and adopted adolescent problem behavior.

Copyright 2009 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
19203160
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2670072
Free PMC Article
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