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York leads UK survey on adoptive, foster and step-parenting

Posted on 8 April 2015

Psychologists from the University of York are spearheading research into the parenting experiences of those with adopted, fostered and step-children in the UK.

The project Thinking about Parenting, conducted by PhD student Sarah Fishburn and supervised by Professor Elizabeth Meins from York’s Department of Psychology, will investigate how aspects of the caregiving environment play a role in the emotional wellbeing of parents and children.

Conducted via four online questionnaires for parents of children aged 3 to 16 years, the study will gather information on how best to support different family structures, including those who foster, adoptive parents and step-parents.

Answering standardised questions on their child’s behaviour and personality, participants will have the opportunity to focus and reflect on how they interact with their children, and how this affects theirs and their child’s wellbeing.

Professor Meins said: “We know a great deal about parenting and child development in biological families, but much less research has been done with parents of adopted, fostered and step-children. With government calls to encourage adoption and fostering in the UK, it is more important than ever to gather information on whether these diverse family structures relate to stresses and strains on parents and children. We’re interested in learning more about these parents’ views about parenting so that we can know more about how best to support such families.”

Sarah Fishburn, second year PhD student, said: “For those who choose to take part, four short questionnaires are available online.  Taking part in the study can give you the time to reflect on your relationship with your child, and will provide us with a greater understanding of family relationships and the factors which may contribute to optimal wellbeing for parents and children.”

The study is online and open to all who wish to take part: All information will be kept confidential and data will be anonymous and stored securely.

Further information:

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