Adoption Context, Parental Investment, and Children’s Educational Outcomes

Regina Werum, Tomeka Davis, Simon Cheng, Irene Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Adoptive parents invest more resources into their children than comparable nonadoptive and biological parents, a pattern strongly linked to parental socioeconomic status. But important differences among families related to adoption context (international, private, foster) could affect parental investment and its impact on educational outcomes. Using the National Survey of Children’s Health, our findings indicate that parental investment strategies are contingent on adoption context and partially mitigate the negative direct association between adoption and educational outcomes. Internationally adoptive parents invest significantly more than do other adoptive and nonadoptive families. Without these parental investments, however, internationally adoptive children tend to experience the poorest educational outcomes. Even though parental investments can help mitigate internationally adoptive children’s negative educational outcomes, private domestic adoptive families seem to be more successful at mitigation. Results highlight how social stratification dynamics shape selection into adoption venues while also influencing parents’ efforts to invest and translate investments into educational gains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-746
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • adoption
  • adoption context
  • education
  • global/international
  • parent/child relations
  • parental investment
  • race/ethnicity
  • stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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