AuthorClark-Miller, Kristi Marie
Committee ChairWalker, Henry A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAdoption is a social institution that is continually evolving in order to meet the needs of children and adults. The research presented in this dissertation focuses on measuring the current cultural sentiments about the practice of adoption and assessing the stigmatization of adoption and the identities of adoptive parent and adopted child. Drawing from Bruce Link and Jo Phelan's conceptualization of stigma and the assumptions of Affect Control Theory, I provide evidence that adoption and thus adoptive families continue to be stigmatized in the United States. My data indicate that adoptive parents and children are socially differentiated from parents and children who are biologically related. Adopted children, particularly children adopted out of foster care, are perceived more negatively than children who are not. The stereotypical traits predicted by Affect Control Theory for adoptive parents and adopted children indicate that these identities are more negative and notably less powerful than those for biological parents and children. In addition, the expected behavioral patterns between adoptive parents and their adopted children are more ambivalent and less supportive than those of biological children and parents. The predictions made in this work must be tested in future research.