A question of stigmatization?, socially constructed perceptions of adoption

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Callum, Barbara R.
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This qualitative research study focuses on exploring social attitudes towards adoption by interviewing adult adoptees who were adopted at birth in Manitoba, and remained with their adoptive parent(s) until at least the age of 16 years. Subjects ranged in age from 25 years to 58 years with a mean of 37 years. Attention was given to the source and content of social attitudes, with particular interest being paid to the possible presence of the experience of adoption as a socially stigmatized position. The researcher was also interested in mediating factors, or how the adoptee coped with social attitudes towards their adoptive status. Data were assessed using the methods of content analysis. The data that emerged from interviewing fourteen adults re ealed several significant themes within the categories of source, content, and mediating factors. This study highlights that it is nor lineage per se that is important but is instead the long standing social conviction that kinship is defined in biological terms as opposed to social relatedness. The category of mediating factors again points to the salience of loving, supportive, adoptive family members. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)