Theses Doctoral

Relationship Between Filial Deprivation Experience and Adjustment to Residential Treatment in Seven-To-Fourteen-Year-Old Children

Rejent, Deborah

This study was designed to determine the relationship between the adjustment to residential treatment of seven- to fourteen-year-old children and their mothers' experience of filial deprivation (or separation experience) during placement. Also included as predictors of the children's adjustment in this study were parental alienation, parental self-esteem, parental involvement in the children's treatment, and whether the placement had been supported (agreed to by the mother) or not. Also examined was the relationship between parental involvement and filial deprivation and whether the placement was supported or non-supported.

Thirty mothers who had children admitted to a short-term residential treatment center (maximum ninety days), and thirty others who had children admitted to long-term treatment (one to two years) were interviewed within eleven months of admission. The adjustment of the children was assessed by rating scales completed by social workers and child care workers.

Factor analysis of maternal reports of feelings following placement yielded four dimensions of filial deprivation in the population of mothers: anger and shame, guilt with sadness, bitterness, and thankfulness. Results indicated that filial deprivation is related to children's adjustment, especially in the areas of peer relationships and hostility. In addition, there was a negative relationship between maternal guilt with sadness and the frequency of contact of the mother with the social worker.

Several significant relationships were found between aspects of the mother's personality and the adjustment of her child.

The findings were discussed in relation to: possible social work interventions, the impact of institutional care on parents, and the provision of social services for seriously emotionally-disturbed children.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Meyer, Carol H.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 22, 2015