Openness and secrecy in adoptive families and possible effects on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees

Paper


Passmore, Nola L., Foulstone, Alexis R. and Feeney, Judith A.. 2006. "Openness and secrecy in adoptive families and possible effects on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees." Bowles, Terry (ed.) 6th Annual Conference of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group: Relationships Near and Far. Melbourne, Australia 11 - 12 Nov 2006 Melbourne, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Openness and secrecy in adoptive families and possible effects on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees

Presentation TypePaper
AuthorsPassmore, Nola L. (Author), Foulstone, Alexis R. (Author) and Feeney, Judith A. (Author)
EditorsBowles, Terry
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 6th Annual Conference of the APS's Psychology of Relationships Interest Group: Relationships Near and Far
Number of Pages5
Year2006
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
ISBN0909881316
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.groups.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/RIG_conf06_Registration_brochure.pdf
Conference/Event6th Annual Conference of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group: Relationships Near and Far
Event Details
6th Annual Conference of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group: Relationships Near and Far
Event Date
11 to end of 12 Nov 2006
Event Location
Melbourne, Australia
Abstract

The aim of the current study was to investigate the possible impact that secrecy within adoptive families can have on the interpersonal relationships of adult adoptees. As part of a larger study, 144 adoptees completed a variety of relationship measures and questionnaires tapping openness/secrecy and parental characteristics within the adoptive families. Those whose adoptive families were more open and honest tended to be closer to their adoptive parents and report that their parents had been more caring and less controlling. In contrast, those whose adoptive families were more secretive scored higher on measures of social and family loneliness, avoidant and anxious attachment, and risk in intimacy. Fifty-seven of the participants were interviewed further about their adoptive experiences and interpersonal relationships. Thematic analysis indicated that openness in adoptive families was helpful in providing adoptees with a model for their own interpersonal relationships and also in assisting adoptees with identity, search, and reunion issues. Conversely, secrecy in adoptive families often led to difficulties in relationships with the adoptive family and general identity and trust issues. Secrecy also seemed to impact negatively on search and reunion experiences. The implications of these findings for adoption practice and counselling will be discussed.

Keywordsopenness; secrecy; adoptees; adoption; adoptive families; adoptive parents
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440301. Family and household studies
470108. Organisational, interpersonal and intercultural communication
520399. Clinical and health psychology not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Psychology
University of Queensland
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