This research will help to extend knowledge of adopted adolescent social interactions, and factors that may predict their relationship style. This will benefit adopted adolescent interventions to enhance their social functioning before adulthood.
This study proposes to identify a set of biopsychosocial outcomes for North American adolescents who were adopted out as children, with regards to their socio-emotional functioning. Studies show that many orphaned children raised for a time within an institutional environment often experience hardships, such as neglect or maltreatment (van Ijzendoorn, Juffer, Klein Poelhius, 2005). The children tend also to have less opportunity to acquire and practice new skills which negatively impacts on their social and cognitive abilities in later life (van Ijzendoorn, Juffer, Klein Poelhius, 2005). Research supports the conclusion that as adults, adopted individuals are more likely to experience psychopathology, and or to have dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, both of which negate their ability to develop supportive networks, feelings of belongingness and positive self-concepts that allow them to be fully contributing members of a democratic society (Nicoloson, 2004; van Ijzendoorn, Juffer, Klein Poelhius, 2005), .
Rutter (1990 as cited in van Ijzendoorn, Juffer, Klein Poelhius, 2005) suggested ...
Juffer, Klein Poelhius, 2005) suggested that the orphaned child may accumulate risk factors within the institution that have negative developmental affects. Adoption may buffer these risk factors if the environment is a positive one. Many studies indicate that a number of adopted children may later exhibit a greater degree of socio-emotional problems (Hoksberger, ter Laak, van Dijkum, Rijk, Rijk, Stoutjesdijk, 2003). Literature exists that investigates biological, cognitive or social differences between adopted children or adults and their peers (Hoksberger et al., 2003; Nicoloson, 2004; Zilbertstein, 2006). However, there appears to be no studies that have explicitly explored the inter-relationship of these systems and their impact on the socio-emotional functioning of the adolescent. Adolescence is a period of change in which most adolescents choose to value as intimates and companions, selecting peers over parents (Freeman & Brown, 2001). Close relationships with peers throughout the teenage years have been associated with positive personal inter-relationships with social others in later life (Sommerville, 2003). Studies show that meaningful and balanced interpersonal social relationships contribute to high self-esteem, high levels of perceived well-being, greater satisfaction with occupational choices, and lowered risk of experiencing a psychopathology (Freeman & Brown, 2001; Sommerville, 2003).
The proposed study will compare adopted adolescents with their peers on biological, cognitive and social measures, as defined by levels of cortisol, demonstrated language ability and attachment style. It is hypothesised that adopted adolescents who have high levels of cortisol will also exhibit restricted emotional language ability, an insecure or avoidant