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Adoption and Attachment Research Study: Transition into Adulthood

A seminal study took place about 20 years ago which was a collaboration between Coram, the Anna Freud Centre and Great Ormond Street Hospital. The study focused on late- and early-placed children who were followed up at placement and then on two subsequent yearly occasions. Adoptive parents completed a full battery of measures. Children in both samples were administered the story stems (Story Stem Assessment Profile) and a number of other measures at each time point. 

A second phase in adolescence took place several years later which followed up many of the families in both the late- and early-placed groups, using a battery of measures. Though there have been some publications, mainly from the early phase, much of this data is still available for analysis. 

A recent grant from the Sir Halley Stewart Trust in 2021 allowed for the analysis and dissemination of findings from the adolescent phase. Five papers have been completed on topics around intergenerational attachment, the prediction of attachment in adolescence, the impact of sibling placement, parenting stress and parental concerns around adolescents. 

A third phase, ‘Transition into Adulthood’, began in 2021 and drew upon postgraduate students across the Anna Freud Centre/UCL and New School University (New York) as well as social workers who had previously been involved in the Coram study. Data collection has involved interviewing adoptive parents as well as individuals who were adopted. Data collection is close to completion. Some postgraduate projects have been completed and are being written up for publication, while others are ongoing.

Chief investigator: Dr Saul Hillman

Find out more about ChAPTRe