Adoption Studies/Adoption Science

During the twentieth century, child adoption was reimagined in scientific terms, as a social experiment and human laboratory that could produce knowledge as well as help children. Researchers were persuaded that adoption could answer basic scientific questions about development, nature and nurture, and family norms. Professionals and parents were persuaded that scientific research would improve family-making by minimizing risks and maximizing safety. Adoption has been the subject of four major types of empirical research: field studies, outcome studies, nature-nurture studies, and psychopathology studies. Chronological lists of studies can be found by clicking on the preceding links. Descriptions of particular studies, and excerpts from them, can be found by using the links in the table below.

Further reading about Adoption Studies and Adoption Science


Field Studies

Outcome Studies

Nature-Nurture Studies

Psychopathology Studies


Page Updated: 2-24-2012
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To learn more about The Adoption History Project, please contact Ellen Herman
Department of History, University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1288
(541) 346-3699
About the Project and the Author
© Ellen Herman