Carbonaro, Richard (2018). Are foster and adopted children socially isolated? An examination of adolescents’ social development. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Adoption and foster care status have been linked with developmental cognitive and emotional repercussions, but its effects on social network outcomes have been largely unexplored. Using attachment theory to bridge the gap between adoption/foster status and peer relations, this project examines the social network outcomes of adopted and foster children. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, this is explored using a nationally representative data set. After data preparation and cleaning, a sample of 10,337 was used for the analyses, using fixed effects to address school-level structural differences. Results suggest adopted children do not vary from children raised in their biological homes, but children in foster care experience structural and subjective social network inequalities, having fewer friends, are less connected, and perceiving less social acceptance than their peers. This disparity is not explained by family-level differences. Findings suggest the stability associated with adoption may serve as an intervention to reduce the negative outcomes associated with foster care.
adoption foster care social network attachment theory
Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
1283. Section on the Sociology of the Family Refereed Roundtable Session
City of Publication