Masters Thesis

An examination of positive mental health outcomes in former recipients of foster care

The purpose of this study was to examine mental health factors including substance use, depression, caretaker bonding, and social self-efficacy in individuals who were previously placed in foster care. This study sought to compare outcomes in those former foster care recipients who experienced relative and non-relative adoption. A total of 185 former foster care recipients participated in the current study. Results indicated that individuals who experienced adoption out of foster care by a relative have lower depression levels and higher ratings of social self-efficacy than those who were adopted by a non-relative and those who were never adopted out of care. The present study found results in low levels of substance use which were relatively equal among these three groups. Additionally, this study found the highest levels of female caretaker bonding in those foster care recipients who had been adopted by a relative as compared to individuals who were adopted by a non-relative and those who were never adopted, however no significant difference was found in the ratings of male caretaker bonding between groups. Data were collected through the use of The Substance Use Inventory, the Hamilton Depression Inventory, the Parental Bonding Instrument-Foster Care, the Social Self-Efficacy Subscale of the Sherer’s perceived Self-Efficacy Scale, and a brief demographic questionnaire.