Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D.

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Developmental Psychology


An adopted person develops a narrative or story to help make sense of his or her adoption. This narrative provides a window into how the adoptee understands the role of adoption in his or her life and articulates feelings and thoughts about it. Adolescent and emerging adult adoptees’ data from the Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP) were examined. MTARP longitudinally followed 190 adoptive kinship networks, with varying levels of openness in the adoption, from childhood to emerging adulthood. The current study sought to understand how emotion (affective valence and specific emotions), as identified in the adoption narratives during adolescence and emerging adulthood, related to qualities of their closest emerging adult relationships. It was expected that reflections of early relationships would impact the current evaluation of relationships. The emotions described in these narratives were used to predict relationship qualities (attachment related anxiety and avoidance, relationship satisfaction, and intimacy maturity). It was expected that more positive affect and less negative affect would predict higher levels of attachment security, intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. The change in affect over time (from adolescence to emerging adulthood) and average affect over time were also examined. Specific emotions of affect were explored and evaluated for their contribution to emerging adulthood relationship qualities. Results indicated associations of both negative and positive affect with attachment style in emerging adulthood. Findings of this study will help to assist research and practitioners understand the application of the adoption narrative in their work, and the translation of adoptive identity into relationship concepts.