Foster Parenting Stress, Length of Child Time in Foster Care, and Presence of Other Children as Predictors of the Attachment and Behavior Problems of Children in Foster Care

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This study examined three factors that may predict attachment patterns and behavior problems of children in foster care: length of time in a single foster home, presence of biological and/or adopted children in the foster home, and parenting stress. Participants included 50 primarily African American 8 to 12 year old foster children and their foster caregivers. Data were obtained using the Parenting Stress Index, Beech Brook Attachment Disorder Questionnaire, and Child Behavior Checklist. Correlations revealed that high negative attachment and low positive attachment were significantly related to greater behavior problems. Regression analyses revealed that time in a single foster home was a significant predictor of positive attachment, with more time in the current placement related to less positive attachment. Trends further indicated that presence of other children and extended time in a single foster home predicted high negative attachment. Implications of the findings for practitioners and policy makers are discussed.