Representations of parents and self in the worldview of a child in care



The article presents the results of empirical research of developmental dynamics in changes of representations of self and parents in orphaned children in different situations of alternative care (residential care – substitute family) as well as their influence on integration into a new family. The sample included 120 children in care aged from 3 to 11 years old. The results of projective experiment employing apperception test were analyzed. The differences in representations development in children depending on their early experience of parent-child relationships and their age at the moment of substitute family placement are revealed. The results demonstrate that lack of any experience of parent-child relationships hinders the development of positive representations of parents, promoted the development of victim identity and self-representations as a person who deserves aggression and punishment. The peculiarities of representations of mothers and fathers in a child’s worldview are described. Children, who have some experience of life in their biological families, develop representations of substitute fathers as reliable and empathetic enough persons earlier and in a more sustained manner compared to substitute mothers. The reveled representations of parents and self in children in care are regarded as the targets for their psychological rehabilitation, since the rehabilitation efficiency is gained through considering a child’s subjective experiences.

General Information

Keywords: children in care, representations of parents and self, changes dynamics, targets of psychological rehabilitation

Journal rubric: Psychological Counseling

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Oslon V.N. Representations of parents and self in the worldview of a child in care [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie [Psychological Science and Education], 2012. Vol. 4, no. 4 (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Veronika N. Oslon, PhD in Psychology, Docent, Professor, Chair of Developmental Psychology named after L.F. Obukhova, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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