This is the 1st national study to examine whether the level of contact between adoptive and birth family members is associated with the behavioral and emotional adjustment of adolescents adopted in infancy (n = 92). Adoptive family members were interviewed twice, 8 years apart, to determine the level of contact taking place throughout adoptees' childhood and adolescence. The Child Behavior Checklist (T. M. Achenbach, 1991a) and Youth Self-Report (T. M. Achenbach, 1991b) were administered in adolescence. Adoptive parents' reports indicate no significant associations between openness and adolescent adjustment. Adoptees experiencing long-term direct contact reported significantly lower levels of externalizing than adoptees without contact. Adoption policies and legal procedures will best serve families by facilitating voluntary openness agreements that accommodate openness decisions on a case-by-case basis.
- Mental health