Dalen, Nordahl, Vonheim, Janson & Nærde (2020): Mother–Child Interaction in Families With Internationally Adopted Children and Families With Biological Children at Age 2: Similarities and Differences
I: Adoption Quarterly, Online first
Monica Dalen, Kristin Berg Nordahl, Kristin Vonheim, Harald Janson & Ane Nærd.
Videotaped observations of mother–child interactions in adoptive and biological dyads showed some significant differences in overall quality of interactions at age 2. The differences included both mother and child observed behavior during a free-play and teaching setting. There were no significant differences in adoptive and biological mother’s sensitivity/responsiveness toward their children, which has been documented to be important for children’s favorable social and emotional development. Taking into consideration the late establishment of mother–child interaction in adoptive families and the children’s adverse preadoption experiences, this result must be considered quite propitious. However, there were significant differences in both mother’s and children’s behavior. Adoptive mothers expressed less positive regard for their children in both settings and displayed more intrusive behavior in the free-play setting compared to biological mothers. Furthermore, adopted children showed less positive mood and engagement of their mothers in both settings and lower degree of sustained attention in the teaching setting than the biological children. Notably, the children’s age at adoption was not connected to either mothers’ or children’s observed behavior during the interaction tasks.