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Fostering "Family": How Communication Sustains and Functions in Foster Families

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Nelson, Leslie.
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This dissertation discusses the findings of a study that investigated how foster parent-child communication impacts foster children as well as the parent-child relationship. Current foster parents (N=158) completed an anonymous online survey in which they were asked to report on their communication and relationship with a current foster child. Findings indicate: a positive relationship between shared family identity and both conversation orientation and relational closeness; communicative openness was positively associated with child’s strengths and relational closeness; the interactional effect of communicative openness and conformity orientation significantly predicted child strengths; and both consensual and laissez-faire parenting styles had unique effects on foster-parent child relational closeness. Implications for understanding how shared family identity emerges and the role of openness in the foster family form are discussed. 1 table and numerous references. (Author abstract modified)

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