Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School Of Psychology And Social Science


Computing, Health And Science

First Advisor

Professor Alison Garton

Second Advisor

Dr. Moira O'Connor


Intercountry adoption is a globally politicised institution that triggers strong discourses about whether transplantation to a markedly different country and culture, often into families with racially different parents, negatively affects the children ' s well-being and identity. Although empirical intercountry adoption research has increased elsewhere, Australian-based research has lagged behind. This thesis presents a body of evidence about the well-being and identity of over half the population of 14- to 26-year-old intercountry adoptees in Western Australia, how their well-being changed from 1994 to 2004, how they compare with non-adopted migrant peers and the influence of risk and threat factors. In 2004, participants consisted of 110 intercountry adoptees, three partners, 120 adoptive parents of 160 adoptees, 80 migrant peers and 44 parents of 56 peers. Data were collected by mail survey. From theoretical perspectives in subjective well-being, identity processes and transracial adoption, well-being was examined in terms of physical health, happiness, satisfaction with life and adoption/migration, self-esteem, self-efficacy, competence and adaptive and problem behaviours. Identity was examined in terms of adoptive/migrant status, heritage, community membership, ethnicity, culture, race and place.

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