Introduction. The adoption of older children would be considered a powerful factor of change enabling them to revise their insecure and/or disorganized Internal Working Models (IWMs), which were built on the negative experiences in their pre-adoption lives. The research design was a long-term longitudinal study including three data collections: 1) T1: at the beginning of adoption, 2) T2: after 7/8 months from placement, 3) T3: during adoptees’ adolescence (at least 5.5 years from placement). The main goal was to examine the continuity and change of the adoptees’ IWMs in this long-term follow-up. Methods. Participants: Late-adopted adolescents (aged 11-15 years, M=13.1), placed for adoption between 4–8 years (without any special needs), were assessed at T1 (N=29), T2 (N=29) and T3 (N=22). Measures: 1) Separation-Reunion Procedure (SRP) to assess the attachment behavioural patterns in childhood (T1 and T2), 2) the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST) to evaluate the attachment representations in childhood (T2); 3) The Friends and Family Interview (FFI) to assess attachment representations in adolescence (T3). Results. Our findings revealed: 1) a significant change from insecure towards secure behavioural attachments (62%) from T1 to T2 (SRP, McNemar test, p=.001), 2) a global change from insecure behavioural attachment at T1 (SRP) towards secure attachment representations (50%) at T3 (FFI, McNemar test, p=.001); 3) a significant concordance (82%) between secure behavioural attachments at T2 (SRP) and secure attachment representations at T3 (FFI, rphi=.647, p=.002), while no significant concordance (52.4%) was found between secure attachment representations assessed at T2 (MCAST) and at T3 (FFI, rphi=.055, p=.801 n.s.) Discussion. In conclusion, late-adopted children seem to be able to revise their IWMs from insecurity towards security since the first period after placement (T1-T2) and then they keep over time this earned security until adolescence (T1-T2-T3).
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