Behavior Problems in Children Adopted from Psychosocially Depriving Institutions

Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.09). 05/2010; 38(4):459-70. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-009-9383-4
Source: PubMed


Behavior problems were investigated in 342 6- to 18-year-old children adopted from psychosocially depriving Russian institutions that provided adequate physical resources but not consistent, responsive caregiving. Results indicated that attention and externalizing problems were the most prevalent types of behavior problems in the sample as a whole. Behavior problem rates increased with age at adoption, such that children adopted at 18 months or older had higher rates than never-institutionalized children but younger-adopted children did not. There was a stronger association between age at adoption and behavior problems during adolescence than at younger ages at assessment. Children adopted from psychosocially depriving institutions had lower behavior problem rates than children adopted from severely depriving Romanian institutions in the 1990s. The implications of these results are that early psychosocial deprivation is associated with behavior problems, children exposed to prolonged early deprivation may be especially vulnerable to the developmental stresses of adolescence, and severe institutional deprivation is associated with a higher percentage of behavior problems after a shorter duration of exposure.

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    • "The amount of tactile stimulation (i.e., licking) provided by the mother, as well as the relative amount of tactile stimulation provided to AR pups, moderates HPA axis activity (Francis & Meaney, 1999; Gonzalez et al., 2001; Levine, Huchton, Wiener, & Rosenfeld, 1991; Levy et al., 2003; Liu et al., 1997; Lovic & Fleming, 2004; Novakov & Fleming, 2005; Schanberg & Field, 2003; Ward, Xing, Carnide, Slivchak , & Wainwright, 2004). Higher levels of licking are associated with increased levels of glucocorticoid mRNA expression in the hippocampus, a key component of the negative feedback system of the HPA axis (Liu et al., 1997; Merz & McCall, 2010). Presumably rat pups that are licked more would be expected to have a more " adaptive " stress responses , recovering faster after stress exposure, although contradictory findings have been reported (Belay et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Building upon the transactional model of brain development, we explore the impact of early maternal deprivation on neural development and plasticity in three neural systems: hyperactivity/impulsivity, executive function, and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis functioning across rodent, nonhuman primate, and human studies. Recognizing the complexity of early maternal–infant interactions, we limit our cross-species comparisons to data from rodent models of artificial rearing, nonhuman primate studies of peer rearing, and the relations between these two experimental approaches and human studies of children exposed to the early severe psychosocial deprivation associated with institutional care. In addition to discussing the strengths and limitations of these paradigms, we present the current state of research on the neurobiological impact of early maternal deprivation and the evidence of sensitive periods, noting methodological challenges. Integrating data across preclinical animal models and human studies, we speculate about the underlying biological mechanisms; the differential impact of deprivation due to temporal factors including onset, offset, and duration of the exposure; and the possibility and consequences of reopening of sensitive periods during adolescence.
    Development and Psychopathology 05/2015; 27(02):347-367. DOI:10.1017/S0954579415000036 · 4.89 Impact Factor
    • "The fact that the Portuguese institutional care is of higher quality than in so many other institutions that have been studied, probably explains our failure to replicate the well-documented dose-response effect of length of institutional care on behavior problems (Hawk & McCall, 2010). Perhaps this " failure to replicate " should have been anticipated given theory that the dose-response relation under consideration may depend on the severity of poor quality care (Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., 2011), along with evidence to this effect (Lee, Seol, Miller, Sung, & Minnesota International Adoption Project Team, 2010; Merz & McCall, 2010). The hypothesis that early exposure to maltreatment in the family of origin, in and of itself, would predict vulnerability to internalizing behavior difficulties in toddlers exposed to less stable environments did not receive empirical support. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study extends research on the effects of institutionalization, most notably by examining whether—and how—both pre-institutional maltreatment in the family and the stability and consistency of institutional care interact to shape emotional and behavioral development. Fifty Portuguese children, placed in residential institutions when 8 days to 26 months of age, were evaluated using the Child Behavior Checklist when aged 18–31 months. Caregiver-rated internalizing and externalizing behavior problems proved to be unrelated to both early family and institutional experiences, as main effects, but the interaction of these factors significantly predicted externalizing problems: a history of maltreatment in the family coupled with unstable institutional caregiving arrangements predicted especially elevated levels of externalizing problems. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of more distal and proximate developmental experiences.
    Child Abuse & Neglect 11/2014; 38(12). DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.10.015 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    • "In sum, the results from many comparative studies have led to the conclusion that adoptees tend to be less well-adjusted than controls. The results of several followup studies have supported this conclusion by demonstrating the influence of pre-adoption social and emotional adversity on behavioral adjustment (Gagnon-Oosterwaal et al., 2012a,b; Merz & McCall, 2010; Simmel, Brooks, Barth, & Hinshaw, 2001; Xing Tan & Marfo, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: The main purpose of the research was to test whether cumulative effects represent a common pathway to behavioral maladjustment for internationally adopted adolescents and controls. The findings of previous comparison and follow-up studies have been contradictory. The hypothesis was tested in an original multi-informant study with 74 adolescents: 40 adoptees and 34 controls. The analyses of the data provided arguments in favor of the existence of a common pathway for adoptees and controls. The accumulation of risk factors in the current characteristics of the adolescents and their family was significantly associated with behavioral outcomes of both adoptees and controls. Implications for research, policy and practice are discussed.
    Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 05/2014; 35(3). DOI:10.1016/j.appdev.2013.12.005 · 1.85 Impact Factor
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