Promoting Attachment Security among Internationally Adopted Children with Histories of Early Adversity
Infants and young children adopted internationally into the United States often experience preadoptive conditions poorly suited to their developmental needs. Most especially, children often experience a lack of consistent attachment figures who are responsive to their cues. Although adoption represents a profound change in children’s environments with children moving from starkly depriving settings to enriched ones, children with histories of preadoptive adversity at risk for forming insecure attachments. Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) was designed to promote secure attachment in young children by enhancing parents’ sensitive responsiveness. ABC consists of 10 parent-child sessions conducted in families’ homes and has been shown to enhance attachment security in other high-risk populations. The present study used a randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of the ABC intervention at increasing secure attachments among children adopted internationally.
Families of 106 children adopted internationally between the ages of 5 and 38 months (average age was 15.1 months) participated in the study. At the time of enrollment, adoptive parents provided information about six commonly studied indicators of pre-adoptive deprivation: late age of adoption, long duration of institutional care, adoption from Russia or Eastern Europe, stunted physical growth, poor pre-adoptive caregiving quality, and pre-adoptive social neglect. A principal components analysis supported the creation of a single measure of preadoptive adversity. Families were randomized to receive the ABC intervention or a control intervention. Afterward, children’s attachment security was assessed using the infant and the preschool versions of the Strange Situation Procedure (average ages at the time of assessments were 24.7 months and 50.3 months, respectively). At both assessments, children were classified as having formed a secure or an insecure (avoidant, resistant, or disorganized) attachment to their adoptive parent. Information from the two assessments was combined by calculating the proportion of times children were classified as being securely attached at these two ages.
Results indicated that the positive effects of ABC were conditional on children’s preadoptive histories. Among children who experienced high adversity prior to adoption (based on a median split), those who received the ABC intervention showed higher rates of secure attachment (67%) than children in the control intervention (54%). In contrast, there was not a significant difference in the rates of secure attachment for children in the ABC intervention (69%) and children in the control intervention (67%) among children who experienced low preadoptive adversity. These findings indicate that the parenting-focused ABC intervention can help promote secure attachments among the internationally adopted children who are most at risk for problematic development.
Family communication openness and psychological adjustment as predictors of secure attachment of internationally adopted adolescents
Background: This research aimed to study the importance of attachment in internationally adopted adolescents. We consider that secure attachment is the best guarantee for the proper emotional development and the main goal that parents would have to get their adopted children, as this will allow the adolescents to create their identity with more security before entering adulthood. So we think that both openness family communication and psychological adjustment correlate with a secure attachment with the mother, father and peers.
Method: Participants: 52 internationally adopted adolescents, 24 boys (age M = 14.16, SD = 1.3) and 28 girls (age M = 14.14, SD = 1.6), and their respective parents agreed to participate voluntarily in this study. Instruments: 1. Adoptive parent interview; 2. Inventory of Parents and Peers Attachment (IPPA); 3. Adoption Communication Scale (ACS); 4. Youth-Self Report Qüestionaire (YSR).
Results: ANOVAs was calculated between each pair of variables potentially predictive. Thus, it was checked if there were differences between the attachment (secure, avoidant or ambivalent) of each of the significant figures (mother, father and peers) with family communication, and communication with the father and with the mother, and overall psychological adjustment (total problems), internalizing and externalizing problems. We also carried out a regression analysis for the mother, father and peers attachment style separately. First, we introduced individually the predictor variables “psychological adjustment” and “family communication” to carry out a binary logistic regression.
Conclusions: Concerning our first hypothesis that there would be differences between psychological adjustment and secure attachment with mother, father and peers, we have confirmed that as less total problems (YSR), the attachment is secure with mother, father and peers. About openness family communication, we also confirmed that openness family communication is significantly related to a secure attachment with mother and father, and not the peers.
Our second hypothesis that the family openness communication and psychological adjustment were predictive of secure attachment has been fully confirmed even controlling for psychological adjustment.
Evaluation of Adoption Support Interventions
The paper will report on the evaluation of two different interventions designed to improve relationships in adoptive families and reduce the risk of disruption. The first interventions was ‘ Nurturing Attachments’ a group work parent training programme devised and manualised by Kim Golding. It builds on the work of Dan Hughes and has PACE as a core concept. It is delivered through 54hrs of training supported by reflective diaries, homework and activity sheets. The evaluation tracked 44 families who started the training with measures taken pre training, post training and six months later. The measures were
Children’s behaviour: SDQ ( Goodman) ACA-SF (Tarren-Sweeney),
Child /parent relationship: CPRS short form (Pianti)
Parental reflective functioning scale: PRFQ (Fonagy)
Family communication/dynamics: Score 15 (Stratton)
Parental well-being: Warwick Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale
Parental self-efficacy: BPSES Woolgar
Knowledge quizdeveloped by Kim Golding
Goal and session rating: Duncan and Miller
The second intervention evaluated was designed to educate professionals and help adoptive parents improve their family life where child or adolescent to parent violence (CPV/APV) is of concern. It is delivered in the UK by PAC-UK and Adoption UK. The evaluation used a pre-post method with questionnaires to adopters ( n=50) completed at two time points. Measures used in the study were
Measurement of CPV adapted from the Evaluation framework RCPV for Child to Parent Violence available at http://www.rcpv.eu/resources, Belonging and emotional security tool (BEST) Casey Family Services.
Brief parent self-efficacy scale ( Woolgar), Carer commitment and strain (adapted) Brannen et al (1997)
Duke-UNC Functional social support questionnaire, and SCORE- 15 ( Stratton P.)
The logic models will be described, and the results of the evaluations outlined.