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Fostering security? A meta-analysis of attachment in adopted children

Linda van den Dries, Femmie Juffer, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn and Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

Children and Youth Services Review, 2009, vol. 31, issue 3, 410-421

Abstract: Adopted children are hypothesized to be at risk of insecure attachment relationships because of their background of institutional care, maltreatment and neglect. We conducted two series of meta-analyses, one using only observational assessments of attachment and one using both observational and self-report assessments. Observational assessments showed that children who were adopted before 12 months of age were as securely attached as their non-adopted peers, whereas children adopted after their first birthday showed less attachment security than non-adopted children (d = 0.80, CI = 0.49-1.12). Regarding the overall effect for attachment security, adoptees were comparable to foster children. Adopted children showed more disorganized attachments compared to their non-adopted peers (trimmed d = 0.36, CI = 0.04-0.68), but again were comparable to foster children (trimmed d = 0.35, CI = 0.02-0.67). Compared to institutionalized children, adoptees were less often disorganized attached. When self-report measures of attachment were included no difference was found between adoptees and their non-adopted counterparts (trimmed d = 0.12, CI = - 0.02-0.26, 39 studies, N = 2912 adopted children). Compared to institutionalized children, (early) adoption proves to be an effective intervention in the domain of attachment.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; Adoption; Attachment; Parent-child; relationships; Institutional; care; Foster; care (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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