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The Effect of Family Communication Patterns on Adopted Adolescent Adjustment


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    Department of Communication Studies, 244 Ford Hall, 224 Church St. S.E., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN 55455.

    This article was edited by Cheryl Buehler.

Department of Family Social Science, 290 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108 (


Adoption and family communication both affect adolescent adjustment. We proposed that adoption status and family communication interact such that adopted adolescents in families with certain communication patterns are at greater risk for adjustment problems. We tested this hypothesis using a community-based sample of 384 adoptive and 208 nonadoptive families. Adolescents in these families were, on average, 16 years of age. The results supported our hypothesis. Adopted adolescents were at significantly greater risk for adjustment problems compared to nonadopted adolescents in families that emphasized conformity orientation without conversation orientation and in families that emphasized neither conformity nor conversation orientation. Adolescents in families emphasizing conversation orientation were at lower risk for adjustment problems, regardless of adoption status.