Openness and secrecy in adoptive families and possible effects on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees

Passmore, Nola L. and Foulstone, Alexis R. and Feeney, Judith A. (2006) Openness and secrecy in adoptive families and possible effects on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees. In: Relationships Near and Far, 11-12 Nov 2006, Melbourne, Australia.

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The aim of the current study was to investigate the possible impact that secrecy within adoptive families can have on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees. As part of a larger study, 144 adoptees completed a variety of relationship measures and questionnaires tapping openness/secrecy and parental characteristics within the adoptive families. Those whose adoptive families were more open and honest tended to be closer to their adoptive parents and report that their parents had been more caring and less controlling. In contrast, those whose adoptive families were more secretive scored higher on measures of social and family loneliness, avoidant and anxious attachment, and risk in intimacy. Fifty-seven of the participants were interviewed further about their adoptive experiences and interpersonal relationships. Thematic analysis indicated that openness in adoptive families was helpful in providing adoptees with a model for their own interpersonal relationships and also in assisting adoptees with identity, search, and reunion issues. Conversely, secrecy in adoptive families often led to difficulties in relationships with the adoptive family and general identity and trust issues. Secrecy also seemed to impact negatively on search and reunion experiences. The implications of these findings for adoption practice and counselling will be discussed.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version deposited according to Publisher's requirements: 'This is an electronic version of an article published in Bowles, Terry (Ed.) (2006). Proceedings of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group 6th Annual Conference (pp. 66-70). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Psychological Society.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008 05:52
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: openness; secrecy; adoptees; adoption; adoptive families; adoptive parents
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160301 Family and Household Studies
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200105 Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication
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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