Relationships between adult attachment style, adoptee's motives for searching, and reunion satisfaction with birthmothers

Passmore, Nola L. and Feeney, Judith A. and Peterson, Candida C. (2005) Relationships between adult attachment style, adoptee's motives for searching, and reunion satisfaction with birthmothers. In: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Personal, National and International Relationships: Australian Psychology Society’s Psychology of Relationships Interest Group 5th Annual Conference 2004, 12-13 Nov 2005, Melbourne, Australia.

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The present study investigated the relationship between attachment styles and motives for searching among 109 adoptees who had searched for birth relatives. Searchers who had experienced face-to-face reunions with their birthmothers (n = 57) also completed items relating to their reunion satisfaction. Participants rated themselves on Bartholomew and Horowitz’s (1991) four attachment prototypes. They also completed the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ; Feeney, Noller, & Hanrahan, 1994) and the Motives for Searching Questionnaire, which identifies three search motives (i.e., searching to gain background information, to reconnect with birth relatives, and to resolve personal issues). While searching to reconnect with birth relatives and to resolve personal issues were both positively correlated with a preoccupied attachment style, differences also emerged between these two motives. Searching to reconnect with birth relatives was negatively correlated with a dismissing attachment style, while those who searched to resolve personal issues had a greater need for approval and less emotional closeness with their birthmothers. A secure attachment style was generally associated with better reunion outcomes, while those who saw relationships as secondary or had a higher need for approval were more likely to experience some negative reunion outcomes. Implications for counselling are discussed.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2005 the authors
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007 11:55
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 02:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: adoptees; mothers; family reunions; therapy; negative outcomes;
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160301 Family and Household Studies
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

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