Stress and coping among adoptive parents

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Virginia Tech

This study examined the joint effects of background factors, chronic strains, psychological resources, and coping responses on emotional stress among 99 adoptive parents who responded to a mailed questionnaire. Factor analysis identified use of three problem-focused coping strategies (planful problem-solving, cognitive reappraisal, confrontive coping) and four emotion-focused coping strategies (accepting responsibility, emphasize positives, wishful thinking, distancing). Multiple regression analysis revealed that parents reporting higher levels of emotional distress were significantly more likely to indicate a pile-up of chronic stressful circumstances related to their status as adoptive parents. More highly stressed parents were also significantly more likely to say-that they made greater use of emotion-focused coping strategies, had adopted an older age child, and received less support from family members. These findings support Pearlin’s (1989) model of the stress process. Implications for additional research in the area of stress and coping among adoptive parents were discussed.

adoption, adoptive parents, stress, coping strategies