“The Caregiving Context in Institution-Reared and Family-Reared Infants and Toddlers in Romania.”

Tulane University, LA, USA.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 03/2007; 48(2):210-8. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01694.x
Source: PubMed


We assess individual differences in the caregiving environments of young children being raised in institutions in Romania in relation to developmental characteristics such as physical growth, cognitive development, emotional expression, and problem and competence behaviors.
Videotaped observations of the child and favorite caregiver in their 'home' environment were coded for caregiving quality, and this was related to child characteristics. Child emotional reactivity was assessed during responses to interactional tasks. Cognitive development was assessed from child responses to the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Data regarding problem behaviors and competence were obtained from caregiver report. Children reared in institutions were compared on all of these measures to never institutionalized children to assist gauging degree of impairment.
Children raised in institutions demonstrated marked delays in cognitive development, poorer physical growth, and marked deficits in competence. Individual differences in caregiving environment were associated with cognitive development, competence, and negative behavior among these young children being reared in institutions.
These data confirm previous findings regarding deficits associated with institutional care and extend our understanding of the impact of individual differences in caregiving quality on the development of young children in institutions.

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    • "The present article thus addresses whether—and how—these known sources of influence operate in concert with each other to shape the behavioral development of toddlers. In line with a developmental psychopathology framework emphasizing the dynamic relation between (temporally) distal and proximal causes (Cicchetti, 2006), we predicted that the early exposure to maltreatment in the family of origin will shape vulnerability to behavior difficulties in toddlers who continue to experience inadequate care in less stable institutional environments; and that this will be so even after controlling for potentially confounding factors like gender and age at time of institutionalization, keeping with previous research (Smyke et al., 2007). In other words, we expected that the pre-institutionalization experience of maltreatment would be amplified by the anticipated adverse effects of lower quality care during institutionalization. "
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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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    • "Studies of HPA axis activity in these children have yielded mixed results, perhaps because social deprivation is typically confounded with physical deprivation, malnutrition, pathogen exposure and abuse, which may also impact the HPA axis. Despite heterogeneity across institutions, institutional rearing nearly uniformly involves fewer supportive adult—child interactions than most family contexts (Smyke et al., 2007; van IJzendoorn et al., 2011). Toddlers living in an orphanage in Romania were found to exhibit lower morning and slightly elevated evening cortisol levels (Carlson and Earls, 1997); however, preschool-aged children in a Ukrainian institution exhibited normal diurnal rhythms, although those who had been growth-stunted had elevated levels (Dobrova-Krol et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Growing evidence suggests that early social deprivation impacts the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. Early adverse care in the form of institutional or orphanage care provides a human model for early social deprivation. The present study examined changes in diurnal cortisol during the transition to family care in the first 2 years post-adoption. Children adopted between 15 and 36 months from institutional care were examined four times during their first 2 years post-adoption (N=58). Comparison groups included same-aged peers reared in their birth families (N=50) and children adopted during their first year from overseas foster care (N=47). Children provided daily cortisol samples at roughly 2, 9, 17, and 25 months post-adoption. Post-institutionalized and post-foster care children exhibited less steep diurnal cortisol compared to non-adopted same-aged peers; these differences did not diminish across the 2 year period. For post-institutionalized children, lower social care quality in institutions was associated with less steep cortisol slopes. Lastly, shallower diurnal cortisol was a mediator between adoption status and increased behavioral problems 2 years post-adoption. Consistent with the non-human primate literature, early social deprivation may contribute to early programming of the HPA axis.
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 08/2014; 50C:1-13. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.07.028 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    • "The decreased perceptual sensitivity to happy faces in institutionalized children is consistent with earlier measures of emotional expressivity in this sample of children. At the baseline and 42-month assessments, institutionalized children displayed less positive affect in two tasks from the Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery (LabTAB) designed to elicit emotion (Smyke et al., 2007; Ghera, Marshall, Fox, Zeanah, Nelson, Smyke & Guthrie, 2009). There was also an intervention effect; foster care children showed a significant increase in positive affect by the 42-month assessment (Ghera et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: We tested the capacity to perceive visual expressions of emotion, and to use those expressions as guides to social decisions, in three groups of 8- to 10-year-old Romanian children: children abandoned to institutions then randomly assigned to remain in ‘care as usual’ (institutional care); children abandoned to institutions then randomly assigned to a foster care intervention; and community children who had never been institutionalized. Experiment 1 examined children's recognition of happy, sad, fearful, and angry facial expressions that varied in intensity. Children assigned to institutional care had higher thresholds for identifying happy expressions than foster care or community children, but did not differ in their thresholds for identifying the other facial expressions. Moreover, the error rates of the three groups of children were the same for all of the facial expressions. Experiment 2 examined children's ability to use facial expressions of emotion to guide social decisions about whom to befriend and whom to help. Children assigned to institutional care were less accurate than foster care or community children at deciding whom to befriend; however, the groups did not differ in their ability to decide whom to help. Overall, although there were group differences in some abilities, all three groups of children performed well across tasks. The results are discussed in the context of theoretical accounts of the development of emotion processing.
    Developmental Science 07/2014; 18(2). DOI:10.1111/desc.12217 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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