A1 Journal article (refereed)
Relationships of young adults with foster care backgrounds : tensions and management strategies (2021)

Tahkola, E., Metsäpelto, R., Ruohotie‐Lyhty, M., & Poikkeus, A. (2021). Relationships of young adults with foster care backgrounds : tensions and management strategies. Child and Family Social Work, 26(3), 358-369. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12816

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsTahkola, Elli‐Maria; Metsäpelto, Riitta‐Leena; Ruohotie‐Lyhty, Maria; Poikkeus, Anna‐Maija

Journal or seriesChild and Family Social Work



Publication year2021

Publication date08/12/2020


Issue number3

Pages range358-369


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/73214


The present study focuses on experiences of relational tensions and management strategies in family relationships among 18 young adults with foster care backgrounds who participated in interviews. In the analysis drawing from relational dialectics, three main tensions were revealed in the participants' relationships with birth and foster family members or in their romantic relationships: the dialectics of emotional distance‐closeness, integration‐separation and sameness‐otherness. In addition, the tension of the childhood dialectic of responsibility was identified in this study. The tensions were managed utilizing eight strategies. The findings highlight the importance of giving a voice to young adults who have experienced the complex web of relationships in at least two families and of sensitizing both birth and foster parents and other adults working with foster children and youth to these tensions in relationships.

Keywordsyoung adultshuman relationsfamily relationsfamily backgroundfoster caredialectics

Free keywordsclose relationship; foster care; management strategy; relational dialectics; tension; young adult

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 18:38