Institute of Family Studies, 766 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia.
Reports - Research
A national, retrospective cross-sectional study of 213 Australian women who relinquished a first child for adoption when they were young and single found that the effects of relinquishment on the mother are negative and longlasting. Relinquishing a child for adoption was viewed as a stressful life-event involving loss. Analyses of data obtained from volunteers through questionnaires and interviews indicated that (1) approximately half the women reported an increasing sense of loss over periods of up to 30 years, with sense of loss being worse at particular times, such as birthdays and Mothers' Day; (2) for the sample as a whole, this sense of loss remained constant for up to 30 years; (3) relinquishing mothers, as compared with a carefully matched comparison group, had significantly more problems of psychological adjustment; (4) major factors contributing to poor adjustment were lack of opportunities to talk through feelings, lack of social support, and continuing sense of loss; (5) outcomes of relinquishment were fairly normally distributed; and (6) relinquishing mothers indicated that their sense of loss and problems of adjustment would be eased by knowledge about what had happened to the child they gave up for adoption. (The survey instrument used in the study, The Questionnaire for Relinquishing Mothers, is appended.) (RH)
Australia; Australia (Western Australia); Loss; Unmarried Parents
2 - Available on microfiche
Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne (Australia).