Introduction. Late-adopted adolescents (i.e. adopted after 12 months of age) may show more insecurity or disorganization in attachment, more emotional-behavioral problems and lower verbal skills than non-adopted peers, due to adverse and under-stimulated pre-adoption experiences. However, the extent of these differences is uncertain due to few and contrasting findings of international and national studies. This study aims to compare late-adopted adolescents with non-adopted peers in attachment, emotional-behavioral problems and verbal-skills during adolescence. Method. Participants were 98 adolescents living in North-West Italy (aged 11-18 years, M=14.58, SD=2.15), 49 late-adoptees (45% girls) and 49 non-adopted peers raised by their own biological parents (43% girls), matched for age. We administered the Friends and Family Interview for attachment representations, the Children Behaviour Checklist 6-18 for emotional-behavioral problems, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV (CVIWISC-IV) for verbal skills. Results. There were no differences between adopted and non-adopted adolescents in secure, dismissing and preoccupied attachment patterns, but adoptees showed higher disorganization than controls (p = .04). Regarding emotional-behavioral problems, adopted adolescents showed higher scores of withdrawal/depression (p = .04) and attention problems (p = .02) than non-adopted ones. No between-groups difference in verbal skills was found. Discussion. Unlike in childhood, adopted adolescents show little or no differences with non-adopted peers, even if areas of vulnerability remain, such as attachment disorganization and emotional problems. Implications. Practitioners should work on late-adoptees’ vulnerabilities to promote their psychological adjustment, designing preventive and clinical interventions, and planning the follow up along all the long-life process of adoption.

How are the adopted adolescents? A comparison with non-adopted peers in attachment, emotional-behavioral problems and verbal skills

Pace Cecilia Serena;Muzi Stefania;Bizzi Fabiola;Cavanna Donatella
2021

Abstract

Introduction. Late-adopted adolescents (i.e. adopted after 12 months of age) may show more insecurity or disorganization in attachment, more emotional-behavioral problems and lower verbal skills than non-adopted peers, due to adverse and under-stimulated pre-adoption experiences. However, the extent of these differences is uncertain due to few and contrasting findings of international and national studies. This study aims to compare late-adopted adolescents with non-adopted peers in attachment, emotional-behavioral problems and verbal-skills during adolescence. Method. Participants were 98 adolescents living in North-West Italy (aged 11-18 years, M=14.58, SD=2.15), 49 late-adoptees (45% girls) and 49 non-adopted peers raised by their own biological parents (43% girls), matched for age. We administered the Friends and Family Interview for attachment representations, the Children Behaviour Checklist 6-18 for emotional-behavioral problems, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV (CVIWISC-IV) for verbal skills. Results. There were no differences between adopted and non-adopted adolescents in secure, dismissing and preoccupied attachment patterns, but adoptees showed higher disorganization than controls (p = .04). Regarding emotional-behavioral problems, adopted adolescents showed higher scores of withdrawal/depression (p = .04) and attention problems (p = .02) than non-adopted ones. No between-groups difference in verbal skills was found. Discussion. Unlike in childhood, adopted adolescents show little or no differences with non-adopted peers, even if areas of vulnerability remain, such as attachment disorganization and emotional problems. Implications. Practitioners should work on late-adoptees’ vulnerabilities to promote their psychological adjustment, designing preventive and clinical interventions, and planning the follow up along all the long-life process of adoption.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1077950
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