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Title: Carer-child relationships and externalising behaviour in childhood
Author: Roberts, Siwan Mair
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2012
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Looked after children (LAC) are more likely than peers to have experienced insecure or disorganised attachment relationships with their parents. They are at risk of developing mental health difficulties, and are seven times more likely than peers to meet criteria for conduct disorder (CD). Outcomes are poor for LAC in the UK. The literature review included an exploration of the extent to which externalising behaviour (EB) was associated with attachment security in childhood. EB was defined as behaviour that is anti-social, aggressive, oppositional or destructive. Three electronic databases were searched. Seven studies, from community settings, reached criteria and all were published since a recent meta-analysis. A clear link was found between children's attachment styles and rates of EBs. Mechanisms contributing to this link included children's ability to regulate emotions and to understand mental states, contextual adversity, and parental psychopathology. The empirical paper consisted of a report on a qualitative study conducted with foster carers about their perceptions of their looked after child's behaviours, and of their relationship with the child. Four main themes were extracted from interview transcripts: (i.) Children's current behavioural presentation, (ii.) Carers' skills and achievements, (iii.) Belonging, and (iv.) Feeling let down by services. Foster carers had a range of useful skills to manage children's' difficult behaviours, but were reporting to be in need of more effective support and training opportunities. It is recommended that the UK care system places more emphasis on forming authentic relationships with young people and their carers. Carers would appreciate services that are less risk averse, and with a common sense approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available