The study examined foster caregivers' sensitive guidance of conversations about emotional themes in a sample of foster caregivers living in Family Group Homes. Thirty caregivers were observed with two out of the several children under their care: one that was nominated by the Family Group Home's social worker as the most challenging child in the Family Group Home, and one that was nominated as the least challenging child. Based on attachment theory that argues that mothers possess a central role in shaping the interaction with the child by adapting their caregiving to the child's individual characteristics (Bowlby, 1982), we argued that caregivers' sensitivity will reflect the differences between the caregivers and not the differences between the children. We therefore hypothesized that the caregivers would show similar levels of sensitive guidance regarding their children, irrespective of the level of difficulty the children presented. The results supported our hypotheses by showing that caregivers' sensitive guidance of the conversations was similar across the most and least challenging children. The results highlight the importance of the caregiver in shaping the interactions with their children regardless of the degree to which the child is challenging.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support for the work described here was provided by the Frederick H. Leonhardt Foundation. Our appreciation also goes to the managers of the foster village settings, to the foster caregivers and to the children.
- caregivers' sensitivity
- emotion dialogues
- foster caregivers
- foster children
- mother-child interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health