Adopted college students' family adoption communication processes: A mixed methods study

Baltimore, Diana
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The purposes of this mixed methods study were to examine adopted college students' adoption-related experiences, family communication processes, topic avoidance, and reasons for topic avoidance. The study utilized qualitative findings from a previous study to inform the creation of a new web-based survey instrument comprised of Likert-type, dichotomous, and open-ended response questions. A census sampling was used to collect data from all adult college students (N=25,526) enrolled in a midwestern public university. Descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analyses, and a MANOVA were used to analyze quantitative data and inductive analysis with open coding was employed to explore qualitative responses. Results suggest (a) many participants have engaged in adoption-related topic avoidance with their parents, (b) unexplored themes emerged related to the types of topics that adopted college students avoid discussing with their parents, (c) adoptees' reasons for adoption-related topic avoidance with their parents are similar to reasons for topic avoidance in other types of relationships, (d) participants engaged in more adoption-related topic avoidance with their fathers than with their mothers, and (e) there were no differences between the frequencies of topic avoidance displayed by adopted females when compared to adopted males. Implications for practitioners, policymakers, adoptive families, and future research are recommended.

adoption, college student, communication, mixed methods, parenting, topic avoidance