Associations between discussions of racial and ethnic differences in internationally adoptive families and delinquent behavior among Korean adopted adolescents

Kayla N. Anderson, Richard M. Lee, Martha A. Rueter, Oh Myo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations

Abstract

Internationally adopted adolescents may have more delinquent behavior than non-adopted adolescents. One explanation is that these adolescents experience discrimination and loss of culture, and adoptive parents are not adequately addressing these experiences. However, studies have not examined the effects of family discussions of racial and ethnic differences within adoptive families on adopted adolescents' delinquent behavior. To test this relationship, this study utilized data from 111 U.S. internationally adoptive families with 185 South Korean adopted adolescents (55% female, M age. = 17.75). During an observational assessment, families discussed the importance of their racial and ethnic differences, and adolescents completed a delinquent behavior questionnaire. Analysis of covariance showed differences in adolescent delinquent behavior across three ways adoptive families discussed racial and ethnic differences; adolescents whose families acknowledged differences had the fewest mean delinquent behaviors. There were no significant differences in delinquent behavior between adolescents whose families acknowledged or rejected the importance of racial and ethnic differences. However, adopted adolescents whose families held discrepant views of differences had significantly more problem behavior than adolescents whose families either acknowledged or rejected the importance of racial and ethnic differences. Clinicians, adoption professionals, and other parenting specialists should focus on building cohesive family identities about racial and ethnic differences, as discrepant views of differences are associated with the most adoptee delinquent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume51
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

adolescent
family
behavior
Adolescent Behavior
discussion
Parenting
adoptive parents
female adolescent
analysis of variance
adoption
specialist
discrimination
explanation
questionnaire
identity
culture
assessment
age
test
problem

Keywords

  • Cultural socialization
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Externalizing behaviors
  • Family functioning
  • International adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "Internationally adopted adolescents may have more delinquent behavior than non-adopted adolescents. One explanation is that these adolescents experience discrimination and loss of culture, and adoptive parents are not adequately addressing these experiences. However, studies have not examined the effects of family discussions of racial and ethnic differences within adoptive families on adopted adolescents' delinquent behavior. To test this relationship, this study utilized data from 111 U.S. internationally adoptive families with 185 South Korean adopted adolescents (55% female, M age. = 17.75). During an observational assessment, families discussed the importance of their racial and ethnic differences, and adolescents completed a delinquent behavior questionnaire. Analysis of covariance showed differences in adolescent delinquent behavior across three ways adoptive families discussed racial and ethnic differences; adolescents whose families acknowledged differences had the fewest mean delinquent behaviors. There were no significant differences in delinquent behavior between adolescents whose families acknowledged or rejected the importance of racial and ethnic differences. However, adopted adolescents whose families held discrepant views of differences had significantly more problem behavior than adolescents whose families either acknowledged or rejected the importance of racial and ethnic differences. Clinicians, adoption professionals, and other parenting specialists should focus on building cohesive family identities about racial and ethnic differences, as discrepant views of differences are associated with the most adoptee delinquent behavior.",
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