Keywords: attachment, late adoption, adoptive mother, IWM adopted children.
Recent researches on attachment and late-adoption have been conducted considering
adoption as opportunity to build new and safer bonds of attachment, for children who
often had suffered a wide range of negative experiences with their primary caregivers.
Aim of this study is to examine the revision of the Internal Working Models (IWMs) of
attachment of late-adopted children (4-7 years of age) and the impact on this revision
exerted by the IWMs of their adoptive mothers. IWMs were assessed in children with a
separation-reunion procedure and a completion story task, and in mothers with a semistructured
interview. Participants were 40 dyads (28 adoptive and 12 biological). It was
used a brief-longitudinal research design with the first data collection at the beginning
of adoption and the second one after 7/8 months. Non parametric statistic tests were
performed (p < 0,05) that are suitable for small sample size. Main findings showed that:
a) late-adopted children changed their attachment behavioural patterns from insecurity
to security, while the biological children were stable in their attachment classifications in
the two steps; b) this revision occurred predominantly in children adopted by mothers
with secure IWMs. Findings confirm that adoption could be considered as "a natural
experiment" able to have a meaningful influence since it implies a change of children's
insecure and/or disorganized IWMs.