Children of the forgotten women: Attachment in mother and baby home survivors

Natasha Dalton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives: This is the first study to look at attachment in the children of women who were committed to mother and baby homes in the UK and Ireland. The objectives of this study were to determine the attachment state of mind (SOM)and experiences of a sample of adults adopted from mother and baby homes using the Adult Attachment Interview(AAI).
Design and methods: The current study made use of the all information gained by the AAI procedure by analysing the interview transcripts in two ways: (i) by using the AAI scoring system (Main, Goldwyn & Hesse, 2003) to reveal each participant’s SOM (ii) thematic analysis of the transcripts producing an inductive set of themes. Participants were recruited via social media post as part of a broader study in adopted adults. Five participants were born in and spenttheir early lives in mother and baby homes, these five were grouped and analysed separately for the current study.
Results and conclusion: Results of the AAI showed that all participants had an insecure SOM with regards to attachment. Three out of the five participants were unresolved/disorganised with loss or trauma. Preoccupied was the highest represented classification, including those who were unresolved/disorganised but had preoccupied as the underlying classification. Qualitative analysis of transcripts identified seven overarching themes and a further eight sub-themes. This study also identified issues with participant’s adoption experiences and can add to the wider discussion of adoption as a traumatic experience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 16 Apr 2021
EventNorthern Ireland Branch of the BPS Annual Conference - Virtual Conference
Duration: 15 Apr 202116 Apr 2021


ConferenceNorthern Ireland Branch of the BPS Annual Conference


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