Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sharon Patten, PhD.

Second Advisor

Curt Paulsen, PhD.

Third Advisor

Kim Wright, MSW, LISW


Current adoption literature indicated a steady increase in adoptive placements of older children over the past twenty years. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 was based on the belief that every child has a right to a permanent, stable home. The result of permanency legislation increased the number of school age children who were legally freed for adoption. Previous studies indicated the probability of adoption disruption increased as the age of the child increased. This research study examined adoptive family characteristics and functioning that were related to adoption permanency for older children. This research study was adapted from a previous longitudinal study done by A. Westheus and J. S. Cohen (1990). One hundred self-administered Family Assessment Measures and Parent Questionnaires were sent to Iowan families who adopted an older child between January 1, 1990 and July 1, 1996. The response rate was 60% (60) of the families and was in regard to 101 children who had been adopted at age four and older. Analysis of the Family Assessment Measure indicated there are a number of family functioning areas where successful adopters differ from families who experienced adoption disruptions. These functioning areas included task accomplishment for the mothers and role performance, communication, and involvement for both parents.


SC 11.MSW.1997.Pippy.RMJ

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