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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The psychosocial factors which may intensify the adolescent foster child's concern about his unknown natural parents : an exploratory study of seven adolescent wards of the Vancouver Children's Aid Society. Lugtig, Donald Joseph


The purpose of this thesis is to make an exploratory study of the basic and immediate psychosocial factors which may intensify the concern which some adolescent foster children show about the natural parents from which they were permanently separated at an early age. The study includes : 1. A brief description of bow the child's concern may be intensified (a) by broad social factors which vary according to the cultural definition of the importance to the child of being reared by "biological" parents (b) by the problems of adolescence in this culture's family life. 2. A description of the intensifying factors derived from a review of relevant literature in the fields of social work, social psychology and psychiatry. 3. An identification and description of the factors in the cases of seven adolescent foster children who, according to two experienced social workers, showed Intense concern about their unknown natural parents. The review of the literature provided a tentative frame of reference for use in exploring the case records. Some factors which were described seemed related to the foster child's early developmental years, others seemed more related to the particular psychosocial problems of adolescence. Suggestions for further research and social work diagnosis were drawn from the study. The concern of the adolescent foster child about his unknown natural parents seems related to his own particular life experiences. Careful study of the individual child should be made before the matter of telling the child about the parents is approached by the social worker. Further orientation of foster parents with regard to this problem seems indicated. Special treatment for certain children with pathological life experiences of which their concern about parents seems to be symptomatic is also suggested.

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