Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Ed. Specalist

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Tony X. Tan

Co-Major Professor

Shannon M. Suldo

Keywords

China, externalizing, family environment, internalizing, international adoption

Abstract

Although there have been many studies investigating international adoptees' outcomes in relation to their pre-adoption experiences, there is a paucity of research investigating the influence of post-adoption experiences. Guided by the proximity of the family to the child in Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological systems theory of human development, this study addressed a gap in the literature by investigating the interrelationships among family-related variables (e.g., stress in family environment, parenting behavior) and 648 internationally adopted Chinese girls' behavior problems. Moderate, positive relationships were found between family stress and both internalizing (r = .43, p < .001) and externalizing (r = .59, p < .001) behavior problems. Modest, inverse relationships were found between authoritative parenting and both internalizing (r = -.08, p < .01) and externalizing (r = -.15, p < .001) behavior problems. Additionally, modest to moderate, positive relationships were found between authoritarian and permissive parenting and internalizing (r = .18, p < .001; r = .19, p < .001, respectively) and externalizing (r = .39, p < .001; r = .34, p < .001, respectively) behavior problems. Finally, authoritarian and permissive parenting behaviors were partial mediators between family stress and both internalizing (R2 = .08, p < .001; R2 = .08, p < .001, respectively) and externalizing (R2 = .20, p < .001; R2 = .16, p < .001, respectively) behavior problems while authoritative parenting was not a mediator to either type of behavior problem. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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