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Gehechtheid in adoptiegezinnen : intergenerationele overdracht en gedesorganiseerde gehechtheid

By W.M. van Londen-Barentsen


This thesis describes a study on 55 adoptive families. The 55 children were internationally adopted, became the first child in their adoptive family and were less than 12 months of age on arrival. Before the arrival of the adopted child in her family the mother's mental representation of attachment was classified with the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). When the child was 14 months of age, the Strange Situation procedure (SSp) was conducted to classify the attachment relationship of the child with the adoptive mother. Also at 14 months of age, the sensitive responsiveness of the mother in interaction with her child was observed and rated during a home visit. \ud The first question concerned, whether a concordance similar to that found in the Van IJzendoorn (1995) meta-analysis could be found for the classical three-way attachment classification between mother and child; and, when indeed an intergenerational transmission of attachment was found, could the sensitive responsiveness of the mother then be traced as a mediator of this transmission process. The second question specifically concerned the recently discovered insecure disorganised attachment classification. A larger percentage of this category of insecure disorganised attachment was expected to be found for the adopted child as well as for the adoptive mother, compared to the percentages in the standard groups of the meta-studies. \ud The distribution of the classical three-way attachment classifications for the mothers as well as for the children was comparable to those in standard groups. Sixty two per cent of all children were securely attached, for the mothers the percentage of autonomous classifications was 46 per cent. Despite the 'normal' distributions of a three-way attachment classification for mother and child no concordance in attachment classifications was found. Remarkably, the mother's attachment classification was not associated with her sensitive responsiveness. A connection between the sensitive responsiveness of the mother and the attachment classification of the child also was missing. A rather large group of securely attached children (31%) unexpectedly had a mother with a non-autonomous mental representation of attachment. An assumption could be, that just the absence of a genetic link, in combination with the specific constellation of the adoptive family, may have encouraged mothers with an insecure non-autonomous attachment classification to be as sensitive responsive as mothers classified with an autonomous mental representation of attachment.\ud When classified according to the four-way classification system, a higher percentage (58%) of the children was insecurely attached compared to the standard group. As expected the adopted children in this research group were more often (36%) insecurely disorganised attached. The adoptive mothers were more frequently classified as 'unresolved' (24 mothers, 44%) than the standard group according to the original standard questions. With the additional items on miscarriage and infertility treatment the total group classified as 'unresolved' was 51 per cent (28 mothers). No concordance was found between disorganised attachment of the adoptive mother and disorganised attachment of her adopted child

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, adoptive family, attachment, intergenerational transmission, disorganised attachment, Strange Situation procedure, Adult Attachment Interview, behavior genetics
Year: 2002
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