Introduction: The adoptive experience is considered an opportunity to experience a new relational environment that offers the possibility to revise early insecure or disorganized attachment in abused and/or neglected children (Van IJzendoorn & Juffer 2006; Pace et al., 2012). While attachment assessment allows the internal representations of children and parents about their relationship to be evaluated, the observation of their interaction allows the specific way in which the two individuals co-construct the reality of their unique dyad (Sander 2007) to be looked at. Several studies have found a relationship between the assessment of interaction through dyadic emotional availability and infant attachment, although the strength of this association has been proved to be modest (Van Den Dries, Juffer et al. 2012). The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between attachment representations and dyadic emotional availability, so as to deepen the understanding of the relational functioning of families with late-adopted children. Method: The sample was composed of 18 Italian adoptive families recruited through health services and authorized agencies for international adoptions. Children were aged between 4.5 and 8.5 years and the time spent in the adoptive family ranged from 1 to 3 years. Measures: Dyadic emotional availability was assessed through the Emotional Availability Scales - EAS (Biringen 2008), adult attachment through the Adult Attachment Interview - AAI (George, Kaplan & Main 1985) and child attachment through the Manchester Attachment Story Task - MCAST (Green, Stanley, Smith, & Goldwyn 2000). Results and discussion: The attachment distribution of the parents shows an overrepresentation of insecure categories. The distribution of child attachment is 56% Secure (with respect to at least one parent), 22% Insecure, and 22% Disorganized (with respect to at least one parent). Results reveal a matching between parental attachment models and children attachment patterns and a weak association between parental emotional availability and adult attachment classifications. These outcomes indicate that insecure and disorganized attachment patterns of late-adopted children in the first 3 years after adoption may change; nonetheless, parental attachment security is not a sufficient condition. These data also suggest that free-play interactions may not necessarily lead to distress and therefore to the activation of the attachment/care-giving system, offering a possible explanation for the weak correlation between emotional availability and child attachment.

International late-adoption: assessing parent-child relationship through free-play interaction and attachment representations.

Pace, C. S.;
2013

Abstract

Introduction: The adoptive experience is considered an opportunity to experience a new relational environment that offers the possibility to revise early insecure or disorganized attachment in abused and/or neglected children (Van IJzendoorn & Juffer 2006; Pace et al., 2012). While attachment assessment allows the internal representations of children and parents about their relationship to be evaluated, the observation of their interaction allows the specific way in which the two individuals co-construct the reality of their unique dyad (Sander 2007) to be looked at. Several studies have found a relationship between the assessment of interaction through dyadic emotional availability and infant attachment, although the strength of this association has been proved to be modest (Van Den Dries, Juffer et al. 2012). The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between attachment representations and dyadic emotional availability, so as to deepen the understanding of the relational functioning of families with late-adopted children. Method: The sample was composed of 18 Italian adoptive families recruited through health services and authorized agencies for international adoptions. Children were aged between 4.5 and 8.5 years and the time spent in the adoptive family ranged from 1 to 3 years. Measures: Dyadic emotional availability was assessed through the Emotional Availability Scales - EAS (Biringen 2008), adult attachment through the Adult Attachment Interview - AAI (George, Kaplan & Main 1985) and child attachment through the Manchester Attachment Story Task - MCAST (Green, Stanley, Smith, & Goldwyn 2000). Results and discussion: The attachment distribution of the parents shows an overrepresentation of insecure categories. The distribution of child attachment is 56% Secure (with respect to at least one parent), 22% Insecure, and 22% Disorganized (with respect to at least one parent). Results reveal a matching between parental attachment models and children attachment patterns and a weak association between parental emotional availability and adult attachment classifications. These outcomes indicate that insecure and disorganized attachment patterns of late-adopted children in the first 3 years after adoption may change; nonetheless, parental attachment security is not a sufficient condition. These data also suggest that free-play interactions may not necessarily lead to distress and therefore to the activation of the attachment/care-giving system, offering a possible explanation for the weak correlation between emotional availability and child attachment.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/777205
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