Self-perceptions of fulfilling the foster caregiver role: A preliminary analysis

Susan A. Cole, Mary Keegan Eamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study identified items measuring foster caregivers' perceptions of fulfilling their foster caregiver role and the factors associated with those perceptions. Data were analyzed from the Illinois Foster Caregivers Study, which interviewed a sample of 204 foster caregivers who currently had children in their care. A principal component analysis determined that responses to four questions related to the foster caregiver experience measured one construct (alpha = 72). The bivariate analysis indicated that foster caregivers' age, helpfulness of the foster child information provided at the time of placement, and adult support increased the odds of foster caregivers' perceptions of fulfilling their caregiver role. Attaining at least a high school education, higher family income, depressive symptoms, and three types of childhood maltreatment decreased the odds of their positive perceptions. In the multivariate analysis, only the odds ratios for depressive symptoms, an index of childhood maltreatment, and adult support were significant predictors of the foster caregivers' perceptions. Child welfare agency and practice implications are drawn from the analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-671
Number of pages17
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Caregiver childhood maltreatment
  • Caregiver role
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Foster caregivers' self-perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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