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Campus Access

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

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Month Degree Awarded



Attachment, Adoption, Parent-child, Relationships


This study examined whether adopted adolescents’ attachment to their adoptive parents predicted attachment experiences in close relationships outside one’s family during emerging adulthood. Data were taken from the Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project, a longitudinal study of 190 adoptive families followed for three time points (target adoptee’s childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood). Parental attachment was assessed through the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA: Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), and hierarchical linear modeling allowed for calculations of the average and discrepancy of attachment to each adolescent’s parent dyad. Using the Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire (ECR: Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998), attachment style in emerging adulthood was evaluated in terms of the level of avoidance and anxiety in close relationships. While avoidance in close relationships was predicted by dyadic parental attachment, anxiety was not. Congruent with expectations, less avoidance was associated with stronger parent dyad attachments. Additionally, older age appeared to predict less avoidance in close relationships. These findings demonstrate the important contribution of adoptive parent-child relationships for later relationships.

First Advisor

Harold D. Grotevant