The portrayal of the adopted child in British newspapers and magazines

Maxwell, Maureen and Cook, Lauren (2014) The portrayal of the adopted child in British newspapers and magazines. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 9 (4). pp. 318-322. ISSN 1745-0128

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


The subject of adoption is an important one affecting numerous children, those who adopt and the society at large. It is important to understand the ways in which adopted children (adoptees) are portrayed in the media as media portrayals may impact public perceptions of adoptees and the willingness to adopt. There is a paucity of research literature on the media portrayal of adoptees and adoption in the UK. The subject has been researched more fully in the US where the findings reveal a negative bias towards adoption. The research literature on adoption highlights the significance of attachment and trauma for adoptees. The aims of this study were to analyse the portrayal of adopted children in the British written media using content analysis. The coding categories were drawn from research literature on the portrayal of adoption in the media and the research literature on attachment theory. A total of 75 news items published between November 2009 and May 2012 were sampled. The content analysis focused on the portrayal of adoptees, the early experiences of adoptees and the effects of these early experiences. Results indicate that adoptees were portrayed sympathetically as having problems, needing support and being vulnerable. Also, there was evidence of positive portrayal of adoptees. In addition, the news items portrayed adoptees as having several negative early experiences, including, abuse, neglect and trauma. The portrayal of the effects of their early experiences identified a range of problems, including, emotional problems and attachment problems. It was concluded that the British news items samples provided a relevant but incomplete coverage of the social reality of adoption and the problems facing adopted children.

Keywords:Adopted child, Adoption, Media portrayal, abuse, neglect, Attachment, Trauma, NotOAChecked
Subjects:L Social studies > L990 Social studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:14820
Deposited On:05 Sep 2014 09:11

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