University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Attachment Features of Adolescents Growing Up in Institutional Care: Implications for ‘Attachment'-based Interventions

Misca, Gabriela ORCID: (2010) Attachment Features of Adolescents Growing Up in Institutional Care: Implications for ‘Attachment'-based Interventions. In: Inside out. How interventions in child and family care work. An international source book. KOP (30). Garant Uitgevers, Antwerp-Apeldoorn, pp. 330-332. ISBN Paperback 9789044126976

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This paper presents the findings of a research study comparing the attachment towards adult figures and peers of one hundred Romanian teenagers who had lived for several years in residential childcare with one hundred teenagers who had always lived within their two-parent families. The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA, Armsden and Greenberg, 1984) was adapted to assess the attachment towards adult figures and peers in both samples. The effect of type of rearing (in an institution/with parental family) on teenagers’ attachment to adults and peers was explored both generally and in relation to relevant variables, such as gender and the chosen attachment figure (where applicable).

Furthermore, variations in teenagers’ attachments toward adults and peers, within the institutional care group were considered in relation to a series of variables that reflect different types of possible mediating, risk and protective factors. These variables are related to experiences before and after admission into residential care, which in previous studies have been proven to mediate the institutional rearing effect on development, such as age at first institutional admission and the duration of institutional care at the time of the study; the quality of family life and the presence of parental malfunctioning behaviour, including mental illness or criminality; the amount of contact with parents/family and the presence of siblings within the same residential unit.

The results indicate that teenagers living in care report overall lower quality of attachment towards adult figures and peers than teenagers living with their birth families. However, the reported feelings of trust towards adult figures, which form the base of attachment security were not significantly different between groups, nor were attachments marked by low security associated with institutional rearing.

The results show that entering care during middle childhood and thus spending less time in care seems to be a protective factor in teenagers’ reports of alienation and overall quality of attachments towards adult figures. Moreover, entering care early in life and thus spending longer time in care as well as lack of contact with parents during institutional placement represent significant risk factors affecting teenagers’ reported feelings of trust towards adults. However, none of the predictive measures considered in the present study had significant effect on teenagers’ security levels of attachment toward adult figures or peers. The attachment to their peers of teenagers living in care was not associated with any of the predictive measures considered in the present study.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information:

This book – published in the context of the 11th Biennial International Conference of the European Scientific Association on Residential and Foster care for children and adolescents (EUSARF) at Groningen, the Netherlands – offers a broad and compact view on the latest international findings and provides insight into the factors and conditions which underlie the outcomes – positive and negative – of current child and family interventions and arrangements.

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Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Gabriela Misca
Date Deposited: 16 May 2016 09:03
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2019 10:12

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