Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice

By David M. Brodzinsky; Jesús Palacions | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Beyond Adopted/Nonadopted
Comparisons

Jesús Palacios and Yolanda Sánckez-Sandoval

During the past few decades, adoption research has proven to be a valuable source of information about very important matters, such as the development of adopted children and their problems, the role of early experiences, the possibilities for recovery after initial adversity, and the short-term and long-term consequences of being raised in environments marked by tension and lack of stimulation. As Howe (1998) points out, [Adoption studies take us to the heart of matters concerning human social development] (p. 125). However, psychological research about adoption has been encumbered by an overemphasis on comparing adopted with nonadopted children. Undoubtedly, such comparisons are appropriate and provide very valuable information. However, the results from these comparisons inadequately reflect the complexities of adoption, largely because of the type of design and the comparison measurements used in the research. Moreover, it is uncertain whether the type of information obtained from comparisons between adopted and nonadopted children is very useful for adoptive families, adopted children, and the professionals who interact and work with them.

This chapter has two sections. In the first one, our longitudinal research data from a wide range of adoptive families and their adopted children are presented. In contrast to similar research, our study is longitudinal, focusing on national adoption cases in Spain on boys and girls adopted mostly in their first year of life, although a significant percentage of children in the sample were considered special needs adoptions in our context. Regarding the design of the study, we collected data not only comparing adopted children to their current nonadopted peers but also

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