Assessing emotional readiness for adoption using the transtheoretical model

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Date of Original Version



This research applied the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to conceptualizing and assessing emotional readiness to be an adoptive parent. Readiness to adopt was defined as taking the three steps of: accepting that it is more important to be a parent than to have this child biologically; researching and finding that adoption is right for this individual; and sharing adoption plans with others. The three criteria for emotional readiness were based on adoption literature, clinical experience and "practice wisdom" of adoption professionals, and focus groups. The development and validation of measures for the 14 variables of the TTM is described. With an adoption agency, 217 prospective adoptive parents completed an assessment. Findings provide evidence of the validity of the TTM measures and the application of TTM to the field of adoption. Results showed that individuals in the earlier stages of change weighed the cons of being emotionally ready as higher than the pros, while the opposite was true for individuals in the Maintenance stage. Individuals in the Action and Maintenance stages reported higher self-efficacy than those in the Contemplation and Preparation stages. Individuals in the latter stages applied processes of change at higher levels than those in the Contemplation stage. These findings support the applicability of the TTM to emotional readiness to be an adoptive parent and provide impetus for future efforts to develop stage-matched interventions that can guide adoption professionals in their work. © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

Children and Youth Services Review