Date of Award

3-16-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Dr. Ram Cnaan

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Corcoran

Third Advisor

Dr. Vasiliki Galani

Abstract

In today’s society adoption has offered an effective way for dealing with children who are for whatever reason separated from their biological parents. During the past decade a burgeoning interest in the psychological community about the experiences of adult adoptees has initiated a growing amount of research regarding adopted individual’s adult relational adjustment. Still, little is known about adoptee’s relational adjustment in adulthood. From a sample of two-hundred-thirty-one women (N=231), one-hundred-twenty-seven adopted women and one-hundred-four women who were not adopted were compared in terms of their attachment style within romantic relationships. Comparisons were also made between adopted women and nonadopted women regarding their parental bonding experiences. Participants completed The Experiences in Close Relationships Measure to assess romantic relationship attachment, The Parental Bonding Instrument to assess experiences of parental behaviors and attitudes during their first sixteen years of life, and a Background Information Questionnaire. Statistical analysis indicated that adopted women experienced a more insecure attachment within their romantic relationships. Statistical analysis also indicated that adopted women reported more negative parental attitudes and behaviors regarding their mutual interactions with their parents during the first sixteen years of their life. Clinical implications are discussed with a particular focus on how clinicians may better serve their adopted clients through having an in-depth understanding of adoption and attachment. Further research is needed to determine the impact of adoption on adult attachment related experiences for adopted persons.