Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Butler


The present study was conducted to ascertain if the placement of foster children has an impact on the level of marital satisfaction of foster parents. Although inconclusive, research indicates that adding a child, or children, to a biological family unit causes a significant decrease in levels of marital satisfaction. There is a paucity of published empirical research as to whether this pattern would hold true with the foster-parent relationship, after the placement of foster children in their home. Data was collected using the survey approach, in which foster parents were asked to respond to the same instrument twice, with a time interval between. The first response, the participants were to describe the marital relationship after the placement of foster children. The second response was to obtain a description of the level of marital satisfaction prior to the placement of foster children. Although the results of this base-line study were not statistically significant, there was a trend in responses that indicated the respondents perceived their marital relationship to be slightly more satisfactory before the placement of foster children, than after placement. Further research, utilizing a true experimental design, needs to be conducted to ascertain if the same pattern of impact holds true in the foster family relationship as in the biological family relationship. Several recommendations for the continuing need for research in this area of study are brought forward, as a result of this study.


Thesis Presented to the Department of Counseling and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Counseling University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Patricia L. Wilcox-Blau December, 1990