Self-appraisal and behavioral adaptation of adopted and nonadopted children Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Easterbrook, Pamela L.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This study compared adopted children and nonadopted peers on their cognitive appraisal of self, adaptation, and behavior on a non-clinical sample between the ages of six to thirteen. A total of 80 adopted and 80 nonadopted children and their mothers participated in the study. Children in both categories were grouped into 4 age ranges of 20 children with equal numbers of boys and girls between the ages of 6 to 13. Three hypotheses addressed age group status and adoption differences on measures of children's self-appraisal and behavioral adjustment. The first hypothesis was supported showing adopted children had significantly lower self-appraisal scores and significantly more behavior problems than nonadopted children. A test of the second hypothesis regarding age group differences was not supported for either Self-Appraisal Scale scores or the Child Behavior Checklist scores. A significant negative relationship supported the third hypothesis that adopted children’s low self-appraisal rating were related to increased behavior problems. These findings provide evidence of an elevated risk of behavior problems and negative self-appraisal for adopted children ages 6 to 13. This negative self-appraisal appears to be linked to behavioral adjustment, supporting past research that indicates a relationship between beliefs and behavior. Although this study did not find an increase in behavior problems for the older adopted children, other studies have shown that adopted children’s behavior problems may not be transitory. While findings of this study are based on a homogenous sample of traditionally adopted children, it must be noted that the face of adoption is changing. As non-traditional adoptions continue to increase, previous research may not be generalizable, thereby necessitating ongoing research on adoptees’ development and adjustment. Future research that examines pre-placement experiences as well as placement type may help us to better understand the complex relationship between changes in family placement and behavior problems. In order to offer a richer, more complete understanding of adoption it is important to consider the gains of adoption and not just the aspects of liability and loss. Although this study found a greater prevalence of maladaptive behavior and lower self-appraisal among adopted children, approximately 65 percent of adoptees' behavior was within the normal range of functioning. Adoption therefore remains a valuable and important social response to the complicated challenge of meeting the developmental well-being of children.
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  • In Copyright
  • Simeonsson, Rune
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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