Adoption, attachment and relationship concerns: a study of adult adoptees

Feeney, Judith A. and Passmore, Nola L. and Peterson, Candida C. (2007) Adoption, attachment and relationship concerns: a study of adult adoptees. Personal Relationships, 14 (1). pp. 129-147. ISSN 1350-4126

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Given ongoing controversy regarding the psychosocial adjustment of adoptees, this study examined the impact of adoptive status and family experiences on adult attachment security, and the role of attachment in predicting relationship outcomes. Adults who were adopted as infants (N = 144), and a comparison sample of non-adoptees (N = 131), completed measures of attachment security at recruitment and again six months later; other measures assessed parental bonding and adoptees’ reunion experiences (Time 1), and relationship variables (e.g., loneliness, relationship quality; Time 2). Insecurity was higher for adoptees and for those reporting negative childhood relationships with parents. For adoptees only, recent relationship difficulties also predicted insecurity. Attachment dimensions were more important than adoptive status in predicting relationship variables, and mediated the effects of adoptive status. The results support the utility of attachment theory in understanding adoptees’ relationship concerns.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author post-print deposted in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:14
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: adoptees; adoption; romantic relationships; attachment; intimacy; loneliness
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2006.00145.x

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