Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

You Love Me, You Love Me Not: A Relational Dialectics Analysis of Themes and Competing Discourses in Foster Children’s Narratives regarding Family
by Hatch, Hazel A., M.A., Northern Arizona University, 2019, 86; 22620983
Abstract (Summary)

Children who spend time in foster care experience a different kind of childhood and a non-traditional kind of family than children who do not spend time in foster care. They often spend their growing up years with multiple families or even in group-home environments. However, research on foster children using a family communication perspective is sparse. The current research examined former foster children’s narratives to understand ways in which they understand and experience the meaning of family. Utilizing the theory of relational dialectics, which identifies and investigates competing themes in relationships, this study analyzes a variety of foster children’s narratives.

This research identified three major societal beliefs about fostering and adoption which were families should be conventional; foster families are ideal; and biological and adoptive or foster families are mutually exclusive. This research also identified two dialectal tensions and management strategies utilized to navigate those tensions.

The research findings suggest that children in foster care want functional, stable families that care about them—whether or not these families are biologically related. The study ends with suggestions for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hardy-Short, Dayle C.
Commitee: Baker-Ohler, Marie, Umphrey, Laura
School: Northern Arizona University
Department: School of Communication
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Adoption, Children, Family, Foster care, Relational dialectics
Publication Number: 22620983
ISBN: 9781392656204
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