• Development of an instrument to assess feelings of abandonment in adopted adolescents

      Landsburg, Sophie Lorin Nichols; McCrone, Susan Hillman (1999)
      Abandonment is inherent in adoption. Abandonment has been frequently discussed in adoption literature but has not been defined as a discrete concept. Feelings of abandonment have not been quantitatively researched. The purpose of this study was to develop and test an instrument to assess feelings of abandonment in adopted adolescents. The Landsburg Adopted Adolescents Abandonment Inventory (LAAAI) was developed according to classic measurement theory. A conceptual framework was constructed based on Erikson's (1950) theory of human development and identity formation, Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) stress and coping theory, Brodzinsky's (1990) adaptation of stress and coping theory, and Bowlby's (1961b) theory of childhood mourning. A review of the literature supported the concepts representing the domain of feelings of abandonment i.e. anger at the birthmother over relinquishment, grief related to loss of genealogy, and low self-worth related to feelings of rejection. Proposed items for the instrument were reviewed and rated by two content experts (CVI = .90). The instrument contained three subscales of anger, grief, and self-worth. Spielberger's (1988) State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory and Berger's (1952) Assessment Of Self scales were used to assess the concurrent validity of the anger and self-worth scales of the LAAAI respectively. The instrument was piloted on a sample of 10 adopted adolescents and modified based on data analysis and participant feedback. The final instrument contained 58 items and a 50-item demographic section. Three qualitative questions requested participants to write anything about adoption that made them angry or sad and to indicate how they felt about themselves. Seventy eight adopted adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 participated in the full study. Findings indicated internal consistency reliability coefficients of alpha = .88 and above, test-retest reliability correlations of r = .68 and above, and concurrent validity correlations of r = .49 and above for all scales tested. Three factors were identified through principal components extraction. Seven hypotheses were formulated pairing concepts of the study with potential confounding demographic variables. One hypothesis was supported. Qualitative responses indicated overlapping feelings of anger and grief regarding loss of genealogy. The sample, as a whole, reported low anger and high self-worth.