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Date of Award

6-2014

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Social Work

Department

School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Cory Dennis

Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative research project was to examine what services birthparents identified as needed prior to the adoption and post-adoption, what mental health issues and symptoms they are facing, and what the impact of adoption is on birthparents. Data were gathered through an online quantitative survey that relied on a convenient, purposive, and snowball sampling. The surveys were distributed through various birthparent support group websites, and Facebook pages and groups. Results of the research showed that participants that placed a child for adoption prior to 1990 had less access to services than those participants whose adoption occurred after 1990. However, participants in both year groups valued and wanted therapy/counseling, case management services, and support groups equally. The most common mental health symptoms among participants were depression and generalized anxiety and the majority of participants felt that their adoption experience contributed to their mental health symptoms. With this comprehensive understanding, adoption professionals can tailor pre and post-adoption services to meet the unique mental health needs of birthparents.

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