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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An exploratory study of contributing elements in the development of attachment between foster parents and young children Svehla, Philipp


This research study explored the development of attachment between foster parents and young foster children aged 2-4 years old. Using a qualitative research methodology, this exploratory study was conducted in the hope of directing future research by suggesting factors that may affect the development of attachment between foster children and their foster parents. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven foster parents (median years fostering was 16; median number of children fostered was 23). Guided by Hammersley and Atkinson's (1995) approach to thematic content analysis, the interviews were analyzed for common themes. Various characteristics of foster parents, foster children, and the environment became clear as the result of thematic content analysis. From the analysis, 47 categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories emerged, including the following 12 main categories: (a) Nurturing, (b) Stability, (c) Awareness, (d) Adaptability, (e) Desire to help, (f) Empowering children, (g) Stress relief, (h) Support, (i) Age (of foster child), (j) Negative, hurtful past experiences(of foster child), (k) Physical health (of foster child), and (l) the Ministry of Children and Family Development's involvement. The results corroborate existing literature as well as tentatively propose new ideas that may influence attachment for foster children. All the themes appeared to converge upon the biopsychosocial well-being of young foster children. Theoretical, clinical, and methodological implications are discussed.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada