Contact in Adoption and Adoptive Identity Formation: The Mediating Role of Family Conversation

Lynn Von Korff, Harold D Grotevant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The present study examined adoption-related family conversation as a mediator of the association between adoptive parents' facilitation of contact with birth relatives and adolescent adoptive identity formation. The sample consisted of 184 adoptive families. Data were collected in two waves from adoptive mothers and fathers, and adoptees (M = 15.68 years at adolescence; M = 24.95 years at emerging adulthood) using semistructured interviews and questionnaires. Structural equation models showed a good fit to sample data, and analyses supported the hypothesized mediation model. Contact with birth relatives is associated with more frequent adoption-related family conversation, which in turn is associated with the development of adoptive identity. These results highlight the importance of supporting activities such as contact that lead to adoption-related family conversation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Adolescence
  • Adoption
  • Contact
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Identity


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