Contemporary Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2016, 135-148

Original scientific paper

Implicit Attitudes towards Adopted Children – Do Future Experts Need (Additional) Adoption Education?

Josipa Vučković - Vrbik Kindergarten, Zagreb
Koraljka  Modić Stanke - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb

Fulltext (croatian, pages 135-148).pdf

National Adoption Attitudes Survey (2002) revealed that a half of Americans believe that adoptees are more likely to have behavioral and educational problems, and a third that they are more likely to have medical and drug/alcohol related problems and are less likely to be happy, self-confident and well adjusted. Experts – school counsellors, social workers and family therapists held similar beliefs, which indicates the possibility of stigmatization of adoptees, even by professionals that provide (them) support and help. Aiming to explore this subject in Croatia, we investigated future psychologists’, social workers’ and teachers’ implicit attitudes towards adopted children and examined their adoption awareness and need for adoption education. Female students (N = 255) were randomly assigned to one out of four groups. After reading one out of four vignettes (biological/adopted child × 1/2 parents) their task was to evaluate characteristics, need for special help and future problems of the described child. Though participants assessed the child’s characteristics and future problems regardless the way the family was formed, they also estimated that the adopted child needs more professional help. Future experts stated they were not well informed about adoption – mostly listing television/daily newspapers, the Internet and family and friends as their main source of adoption information, but at the same time they found the topic very useful for their future profession. These findings suggest a need for additional adoption education in university programs – with the goal of ensuring future experts’ greater knowledge and awareness and preventing stigmatization of adopted children.

implicit attitudes, adoption awareness, adoptees, adoptive families, helping profession students

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