Longitudinal analyses of adoptive parents’ expectations and depressive symptoms
In the context of adoption, parental expectations may originate from a variety of sources, including the competence and legitimacy of the adoptive parent, how the parent and child bond, and the well‐being of the child. Thus, parental expectations of adoptive parents overlap with those of birth parents, but they may also differ because of the unique dynamics of the adoption process. For adoptive parents, expectations surrounding the placement of a child may be influenced by the parents’ mental well‐being, or in turn influence their mental status. Thus, the child's well‐being may be affected (Goldberg & Smith, 2013; Pemberton et al., 2010; Tully, Iacono, & McGue, 2008).
In the current study, we built on the social construct of expectations and employed Foli's mid‐range theory (Foli, 2010; Foli, South, & Lim, 2014) of parental post‐adoption depression to examine changes in expectations from pre‐ to post‐placement. We also analyzed the relationship between parental expectations and depressive symptoms across time. This study is relevant to family nursing because non‐traditional families, such as adoptive families, require informed care based on the unique context of the adoption process and the integration of a new child over time.