Assessing the impact of a virtual support group on adoptive parent stress and competence: Results from an urban/rural pilot study

J. Jay Miller, Morgan Cooley, Chunling Niu, Melissa Segress, Jessica Fletcher, Karen Bowman, Theresia Maria Pachner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the use of support groups among adoptive parents, few empirical works have assessed outcomes associated with participation in these groups, particularly those delivered via virtual platforms. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of participation in a virtual, pilot-phase 10-week adoptive parent support group, on adoptive parent stress and parental competence. The pilot included support groups at two sites in one south-eastern state, one urban and the other rural. Data were collected via a retrospective pre-/post-design and utilized the Parental Stress Scale and Parental Sense of Competency measures to assess variables of interest. Analyses indicate significant increases in adoptive parent competency and significant decreases in parental stress within support groups at the urban site. No such significant differences were detected for participants in the rural group. Overall, findings indicate that support groups can be beneficial in addressing challenges associated with caregiver stress and competency among adoptive parents. As well, data suggest the need to be attentive to support group structure and duration, among other factors. After a brief review of pertinent background information, this paper will outline findings from this study and discuss salient implications derived from this effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • adoption
  • adoptive parent
  • parental stress
  • parenting sense of competence
  • support group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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