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Compassion fatigue and secondary trauma in adoptive parents

Duncan, Morvwen; (2020) Compassion fatigue and secondary trauma in adoptive parents. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of adoptive families. Part 1 reviews the research literature examining post-adoption risk and protective factors associated with adopted children’s mental health and behavioural difficulties, considering parent factors, parent-child relationship factors, family factors and contextual factors. Part 2 reports on a mixed-methods study exploring compassion fatigue and trauma symptoms in adoptive parents, who face the emotional impact of parenting a child that has experienced trauma. Survey results highlight the association of three cognitive styles, psychological inflexibility, thought suppression and rumination with trauma symptoms in adoptive parents. A further finding from the survey highlights the significance of the current emotional and behavioural difficulties, including child-to-parent violence, over the extent of the child’s pre-adoptive trauma in predicting parental trauma responses. Semi-structured interviews with adoptive parents high in primary trauma highlight the emotional and traumatic impact of parenting a child that has experienced early life maltreatment. This related to both the knowledge of what their child had been through, and the current behavioural challenges that they are living with as a result of their early experiences. The knowledge of their child’s past, although traumatic to live with as a parent, also allows many parents to make sense of the behaviours they face and enables them to parent with empathy, patience and compassion. Part 3 reflects on the development and process of conducting the empirical research, including service user involvement. Recruitment challenges and issues of equality, diversity and inclusivity will be discussed, alongside reflections on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the research project.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Compassion fatigue and secondary trauma in adoptive parents
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110563
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