Socio-Perceptual Features of the Image of a Foster Child in Foster Parents with Different Forms of Guardianship



The objective. The purpose of the empirical study presented was the study of social perception and the identification of structurally-substantive features of the mental image of the adopted child in foster parents. Background. The transition to the ubiquitous family arrangement of orphans and the preparation of legislation providing for the adoption of foster parenting as a new profession of a pedagogical profile (“social educator”), as well as the introduction of mandatory psychological testing of foster parents, has revealed the special practical significance and relevance of scientific research related to selection and candidate training. Study design. The work examined the structure of socio-perceptual ideas about the adopted child from adoptive parents, depending on the form of adoption and the number of children adopted by the family for upbringing. The presence of structural relationships and statistical differences was determined using the methods of correlation and comparative analysis. Participants. Foster parents were examined exercising guardianship on the basis of an employment agreement (“social educator”), as well as foster parents who have family ties with adopted children and who exercise guardianship in the form of “blood guardianship” (“blood guardians”). Total 110 people. In the course of data processing and analysis, the entire sample was divided into the following groups: 1. a group of social educators who adopted 1—2 foster children into the family (N=48); 2. a group of social educators who have adopted 3 or more children into the family (N=30); 3. group of “blood guard¬ians” (N=32). Measurements. To identify the structure and content of the perceptual image of the adopted child, a verbal version of the SOCHI technique was used AND V.L. Sitnikova. Results. An analysis of the component profiles of the perceptual image of the “adopted child” in different categories of foster parents showed that they are identical in structure. In the hierarchy of the structure of the image, the leading components are the “Social”, “Activity” and “Behavioral” components. A meaningful analysis of the adoptive child’s perceptual image made it possible to identify structural and semantic units (image components) in the semantic space of adoptive parents that reflect the child’s value attitude to life in a foster family (component “Family Value”) and the presence of bad habits and addictions (component “Bad habits”). This determined the structural specificity of the perceptual image of the “adopted child” in social educators and blood guardians and its difference from the structure of the child’s image in ordinary parents. Intergroup comparative analysis showed that social educators who have adopted 3 or more children into a family more often single out characteristics of a child that are important for interaction in the “child-adult” system; they more often note the attitude of the adopted child towards life in the family, the attitude of the child towards the authority of an adult, as well as the presence of bad habits and addictions in the child. Conclusions. The results were obtained that showed structurally meaningful features of the perceptual image of the adopted child in foster parents with different numbers of children and different forms of guardianship — social educators and blood guardians.

General Information

Keywords: social perception, foster child image, mentality, foster children, foster parents, social educators, blood guardians

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was supported by the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations, project number 0159-2020-0001.

For citation: Aldasheva A.A., Zelenova M.E., Sivash O.N. Socio-Perceptual Features of the Image of a Foster Child in Foster Parents with Different Forms of Guardianship. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2021. Vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 110–128. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2021120207. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Aigul A. Aldasheva, Doctor of Psychology, leading research fellow, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Marina E. Zelenova, PhD in Psychology, Research Fellow, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Olga N. Sivash, PhD in Psychology, Associate Member, Institute of Psychology RAS, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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