Differentiation and Emotional Well-being of Transracial Adoptees

Rachel M Moore, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of differentiation of self and feelings of belongingness on psychological well-being of transracial adult adoptees. This study also aimed to explore the impact that cultural socialization and ethnic identity have on differentiation of self as well. This study hypothesized that differentiation and belonging would have an impact on both positive and negative affect in adult transracial adoptees; further this study hypothesized that cultural socialization and ethnic identity would impact the level of differentiation as well. After examining these hypotheses with 64 adults who were transracially adopted. This study found that positive and negative affect in adult transracial adoptees is impacted by feelings of belonging (increased positive affect) and differentiation of self (decreased negative affect). Further, this study found that as cultural socialization increases, this sample reported lower levels of differentiation. The overall findings reveal the importance to clinicians to call attention to these aspects of an adoptee’s identity when working with transracially adoptive families. While some hypotheses were not fully supported by this study, it provides valuable insight to the experiences of transracial adoptees and factors that might impact their psychological well-being and identity development.




Edwards, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Behavioral Sciences|Ethnic studies

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