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J Fam Psychol. 2019 Jul 25. doi: 10.1037/fam0000576. [Epub ahead of print]

Family conflict observations and outcomes among adopted school-age children with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology.

Abstract

Children's externalizing problems are associated with family conflict among children and their biological parents, yet these linkages have remained unexamined among adoptive or lesbian and gay parent families. Investigating family processes facilitative of adjustment among adoptees, who face unique developmental challenges, is warranted. This multimethod study of 96 (26 lesbian, 29 gay, 41 heterosexual parent) adoptive families examined observations of adoptive family conflict and associations with child adjustment and feelings about adoption (children's Mage = 8 years). The sample was recruited from 5 private, domestic infant adoption agencies across the United States. Parents and children reported about children's externalizing problems and feelings about adoption, respectively. Observations of family conflict interaction were rated from videotaped family discussions. Family interactions were associated with children's behavioral and adoption-specific adjustment, yet analysis of variance and hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed no differences by parental sexual orientation in family dynamics (i.e., negativity/conflict, positive affect, cohesiveness) or child outcomes. Parents generally reported children to have few externalizing behaviors. Children reported positive feelings, moderate preoccupation, and low negativity about their adoption. These findings extend the family systems literature about conflict and child development among diverse families with sexual minority parents and adopted children. Practitioners who work with adoptive and sexual minority parent families can encourage positive and cohesive family interactions in supporting children's adjustment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:
31343211
DOI:
10.1037/fam0000576

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