Early adolescent outcomes of institutionally-deprived and non-deprived adoptees. II

ArticleinJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 48(1):31-44 · February 2007with28 Reads
Impact Factor: 6.46 · DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01689.x · Source: PubMed


    There is uncertainty about the extent to which language skills are part of general intelligence and even more uncertainty on whether deprivation has differential effects on language and non-language skills.
    Language and cognitive outcomes at 6 and 11 years of age were compared between a sample of 132 institution-reared Romanian children adopted into UK families under the age of 42 months, and a sample of 49 children adopted within the UK under the age of 6 months who had not experienced either institutional rearing or profound deprivation.
    The effects of institutional deprivation were basically similar for language and cognitive outcomes at age 6; in both there were few negative effects of deprivation if it ended before the age of 6 months and there was no linear association with duration of deprivation within the 6 to 42 month range. For the children over 18 months on arrival (range 18-42 months), the presence of even very minimal language skills (imitation of speech sounds) at the time of arrival was a strong beneficial prognostic factor for language and cognitive outcomes, but not for social/emotional/behavioural outcomes. Individual variations in adoptive parent characteristics were unrelated to differences in language or cognitive outcomes, possibly as a consequence of the limited variability in the adoptive family group.
    Minimal language probably indexes some form of cognitive reserve that, in turn, indexes the degree of institutional deprivation.