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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1993 May;34(4):545-62.

Adopted and biological children in the clinic: family, parental and child characteristics.

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  • 1Children's Aid Society of York Region, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.


Adopted children are overrepresented in referrals to mental health facilities. Research has described child symptomatology but has rarely described family characteristics or how adoptive and biological families presenting a child for treatment differ. This study took a systemic approach carrying out a multilevel assessment of families of adopted and biological children presented for treatment with adopted and biological nonclinical comparison groups. The results from this study of 88 parents of 7-17-year-old children suggest that adoptive families have greater social and psychological resources that can be relied on in treatment. However, adopted children are perceived to have more problems and their families are more likely to consider removal of the child as a solution to problems. Therapists' failure to appreciate these unique strengths and vulnerabilities of adoptive families can lead to treatment failure.

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