Although most mental health and behavioral health professionals have encountered adoption triad members—birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted persons—in their clinical practice, the vast majority have had no formal or informal training on adoption issues. The Handbook of Adoption is the first text designed for mental health practitioners to specifically address the many dimensions of adoption-related issues which can and do affect adoption triad members, specifically in the United States.

Chapter 22: Birth Mothers and Subsequent Children: The Role ofPersonality Traits and Attachment Theory

Birth Mothers and Subsequent Children: The Role ofPersonality Traits and Attachment Theory

Birth mothers and subsequent children: The role of personality traits andattachment theory

Historical Context

Much has been written about the adoption triad: the adoptee, the birthparents, and the adoptive parents. One aspect that has often beenunderrepresented in the professional literature is the birth mother. It isimpossible to view studies about unplanned pregnancy and birth motherswithout also looking at the social context of the times in which the birthmothers relinquished their children to adoption. In the 1950s and into thelate 1960s, most of the articles published on the psychology of the birthmother were based on psychoanalytic theory. Cattell's (1954) study,for instance, found that the unplanned pregnancy of an unmarried woman was aform of sexual acting out ...

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