Adoptive mothers’ resolution with regard to the adoption experience and behavioral sensitivity to children’s cues

Terracciano, Stephanie
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University of Delaware
This study examined the association between adoptive mothers’ levels of resolution of their adoption experience and their sensitivity towards their children. Twenty-eight mothers and their internationally adopted children were included as participants. Maternal sensitivity was coded from a videotaped home visit of each mother’s and child’s interactions during routine daily activities as well as the mother’s behaviors while attending to other tasks such as completing questionnaires. The Adoption Resolution Questions Interview (ARQ), an adaptation of the Reaction to Diagnosis Interview or RDI (Marvin & Pianta, 1996), was conducted with each mother during a home visit to determine the mother’s resolution status with regards to the adoption process. A linear regression analysis revealed that level of resolution regarding the adoption was significantly associated with behavioral sensitivity. Mothers who were more resolved with regard to the adoption displayed higher levels of sensitivity toward their internationally adopted children compared to mothers who were more unresolved with regard to the adoption. These results suggest that mothers’ abilities to resolve their experiences of the adoption process may have an important effect on their abilities to respond in sensitive ways to their internationally adopted children.