Skip to main content
Intellect

Improving family relations with adopted minorities is child's play, says BYU study

Regular involvement in low-cost, home-based activities may be the best way for families with adopted minority children to improve emotional closeness and mutual respect, say Brigham Young University researchers.

Patti Freeman and Ramon B. Zabriskie, professors of recreation management and youth leadership, report the results of their study of 197 such families this week in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. The researchers looked at the influence of different types of family recreation in promoting togetherness and flexibility in familial relationships where minority children have been adopted.

"A lot of recreation concentrates on challenging group activities and outdoor adventure experiences that include perceived risk," says Freeman, herself a mother of two children from Ghana. "Although such activities often result in short-term successes, in our study we found that low-cost, common, everyday activities contribute more to overall family functioning among adoptive families."

Findings do suggest, however, that a regular combination of both types of activities -- those that are out-of-the-ordinary as well as simple activities in the home -- makes a more valuable contribution to family life and may help families develop the skills to be happier, healthier and more prepared for future family challenges.

"Playing a board game, throwing a Frisbee, reading together, planting flowers or cooking together -- these are the kinds of activities that we found to be essential in promoting higher family functioning," says Zabriskie. "Combine them with an occasional big family vacation or a weeklong wilderness trek and you have an even stronger recipe for familial success."

Suzanne Stott, board member of the Salt Lake City-based support group Families for African-American Awareness and executive director of an adoption agency, is mother to 11 adopted minority children.

"Many Caucasian parents don't completely understand what these adopted children go through," says Stott. "It is important for these special families to learn to develop close relationships of support and communication which will help them develop a positive identity."

Zabriskie and Freeman are optimistic that families can do just that.

"Adoptive families often see the increased need for cohesion and work hard to achieve it," says Zabriskie. "If successful, they commonly have higher levels of closeness and solidarity than traditional families."

Writer: Kristin Prina

Related Articles
data-content-type="article"
February 25, 2020
The theme for the monthly Forums this year at BYU is “In search of democratic character," with "character" meaning the manners and virtues that enable communities and societies to function justly, according to BYU Academic Vice President Shane Reese.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
February 25, 2020
Researchers: interventions help cut-down on unhealthy game treats
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
data-content-type="article"
February 10, 2020
For years now, 10,000 steps a day has become the gold standard for people trying to improve their health — and recent research shows some benefits can come from even just 7,500 steps. But if you’re trying to prevent weight gain, a new Brigham Young University study suggests no number of steps alone will do the trick.
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText= overrideTextAlignment=
overrideBackgroundColorOrImage= overrideTextColor= overrideTextAlignment= overrideCardHideSection=false overrideCardHideByline=false overrideCardHideDescription=false overridebuttonBgColor= overrideButtonText=