A significant limitation of current adoption theory is the lack of identification of clear mechanisms by which macro-societal attitudes toward adoption and adopted persons influence processes of self-esteem. Building on current efforts, a new integrative theoretical approach to self-esteem in adopted persons is presented, incorporating contingency of self-worth theory. Motivation to manage one's self-esteem while embedded within a larger social context is identified as a key mechanism in the formation of self-esteem and identity. Valuation of one's adoptive status as a positive source of self-esteem will depend largely on the attitudes pervasive in the social environment.
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