Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Long-term impact of foster care on romantic relationships in young adulthood: A quantitative study of attachment
by Bowie, John Ash, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 129; 3544997
Abstract (Summary)

This quantitative study explored the question: How does experience in foster care impact attachment organization in adulthood? Previous research has established that placement in the foster care system can significantly increase the risk for various psychological disorders and problems related to physical health, education, and behavior. Studies also suggest that foster care experiences make it more likely for insecure attachment patterns to develop, which in turn are correlated with decreased relationship satisfaction and stability, higher rates of infidelity, and an increased likelihood of intimate partner violence and psychological aggression. No studies to date, however, have explored the association between foster care and romantic attachment organization in adulthood, and this research was conducted to begin filling that gap.

Based on data gathered by the Experiences in Close Relationships–Revised (ECR-R) questionnaire, the present study indicates that time spent in foster care predicts significantly high levels of adult attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance when compared to the general population. Findings suggest that the experience of maltreatment as well as being older make it more likely that a foster child will develop a high level of attachment anxiety in young adulthood. Although the participation group also had a significantly high level of attachment avoidance, none of the independent variables under study were correlated with this outcome. Finally, mirroring the conclusions of similar studies, a significant correlation was found between foster care and reporting clinical levels of anxiety, depression, and symptomology related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McGovern, Katie
Commitee: Hillier, Susan
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Adoption, Attachment, Foster care, Psychology, Romantic relationships, Young adulthood
Publication Number: 3544997
ISBN: 9781267766946
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