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Title: Adjustment in adoptive parenthood
Author: Bird, Ebele
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6201
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Background Stress, coping and adjustment within adoptive parenthood has received increasing attention, particularly within the current climate of late-placed adoptions (children placed for adoption aged 12 months or above). Many adopted children have pre- adoption experiences ranging from maltreatment to loss of their primary carer. These are associated with increased parenting difficulties. Many couples adopt because they have been unable to conceive birth children. For all concerned, adjustment within adoption is expected to be a difficult and stressful experience. This is the case for a small minority. However, for the majority of adoptive families positive adjustment occurs despite the considerable challenges. This complex picture suggests factors which predict stress and coping remain to be understood. Furthermore, lacking within the literature are adoptive parents' subjective experiences of their experience adopting within the current climate. Method An integrative review of existing research was completed to examine how adoptive parents manage the considerable demands of adoptive parenting, using the framework of Family Stress Theory. Qualitative research exploring the experience of becoming a parent through late-placed adoptions was completed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis as the method of analysis. Adjustment in Adoptive Parenthood Results Existing research on adoptive parenthood adjustment can be understood using the Family Stress Theory model. Adoptive parents' experiences of adoptive parenthood revealed similarities with biological parenthood, including shock, coping and adjustment, and identifying as a parent. A further finding, perhaps unique to adoptive parenthood, involved the resolving of complex conflicts in relation to adoption factors. Conclusion Family Stress Theory provides a useful framework for understanding the complexities of adoptive parenthood adjustment. Adjustment within adoptive parenthood mirrors to an extent what is observed in biological parenthood, but perhaps with greater complexity and intensity. Furthermore, adoptive parenthood is characterised by the resolving of complex conflicts. The findings further understanding of the complexities of late-placed adoption for first time parents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available